National Health Fund (NHF) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Everton Anderson, says approximately 70 per cent of the medical equipment and supplies being sourced to further bolster the Government’s national coronavirus (COVID-19) response for Jamaica, has been received.
“We have received additional ventilators, monitors, intensive care unit (ICU) beds, and several other pieces of equipment that [were] ordered over a number of months,” he said.
Mr. Anderson was speaking on June 3, following a tour of the NHF Pharmaceutical Warehouse in Kingston with British High Commissioner to Jamaica, His Excellency Asif Ahmad, to view $100 million worth of medication procured from suppliers in the United Kingdom.
The list of items already in the island also include stretchers, infrared thermometers, and N95 masks, which, along with the remaining supplies to come, have been acquired from suppliers in the United States of America (USA), Ireland, and The People’s Republic of China.
Mr. Anderson said it is anticipated that “hopefully, in another three weeks, we should have all the items that we have ordered”, which also includes additional personal protective equipment (PPE).
He pointed out that while the equipment, such as ventilators, beds and stretchers, being acquired is intended to serve the public health system beyond COVID-19, PPEs will have to be continually ordered “depending on the situation on the ground”.
Mr. Anderson indicated that while the NHF has planned its supply chain arrangements up to the end of the 2020/21 fiscal year, the entity will continue to assess emerging developments and use these to inform its decisions, should the need to revisit these arise.
Medication sourced from the UK, which arrived on Tuesday (June 2), includes drugs for mental health, heart conditions, cancer, and other chronic illnesses.
These are being stored at the NHF’s pharmaceutical warehouse in Kingston for distribution across the public health system.
The shipment was facilitated through the collaborative efforts of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and High Commissioner Ahmad, who was instrumental in initiating arrangements with UK-based TUI Airlines to transport the supplies, which had been delayed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.