The Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has donated essential medical equipment and supplies valued at over $32 million to Jamaica to aid in the country’s fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The donation, which was facilitated through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, comprises 25,000 surgical sterile gowns, 125,000 non-sterile surgical gowns, 188,000 medical masks,1.6 million surgical masks, 9,500 nitrile gloves, and 23 ventilators.
Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Jamaica, His Excellency Faisal Falah Alharbi, virtually handed over the items during a ceremony held at the New Kingston offices of the Ministry of Health and Wellness on Thursday (July 29).
The Ambassador, who joined the ceremony via the ZOOM videoconferencing platform, noted that the bright side to the pandemic has been the cooperation and the solidarity that countries have shown amongst themselves “and today is a remarkable example”.
He pointed out that since the COVID-19 outbreak, his country has been playing an active role at the international and national levels, pledging US$500 million to support global efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ambassador Alharbi said his Government attaches high importance to its relationship with Jamaica and is committed to developing the existing friendship and cooperation between the countries.
He noted that the Government of Jamaica’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 crisis has been robust “and I hope what we are doing today will help to ensure that this robust response continues”.
In welcoming the donation, Minister of State in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Hon. Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn, said it demonstrates the continued partnership between Jamaica and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, since diplomatic relations were established in 1976.
“Our bilateral cooperation over the years has included grants and concessional loans for projects, scholarships, imports and exports. Today, we are expanding that cooperation [with] the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia supporting Jamaica’s COVID-19 response…with [this] donation,” she said.
Mrs. Cuthbert-Flynn said the Government and people of Jamaica are grateful to the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for extending a helping hand “even in the face of your [own] struggle with the pandemic”.
“These items will doubtlessly help to ease the burden on our public health system while also supporting our continued and best efforts to ensure the most optimal health outcomes for the people of Jamaica,” she said.
For his part, State Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Leslie Campbell, welcomed the donation, noting that it will provide significant assistance to the country’s ongoing efforts to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In addition to being an example of South-South cooperation, this donation also builds on the concept of health cooperation, which has been of significance for countries such as Jamaica in dealing with the pandemic through access to personal protective equipment and vaccines,” he said.