In response to the upsurge in COVID -19 cases, health innovation company NovaMed has donated some 25,000 3-ply surgical-grade face masks to the Ministry of Health and Wellness, for distribution to frontline public healthcare workers.
The donation was received by Executive Director of The Health for Life and Wellness Foundation, Courtney Cephas, on behalf of Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton on Tuesday, August 25. Mr. Cephas said, “The contribution is much appreciated and will go a long way in helping our healthcare workers. The masks will be handed over to the National Health Fund (NHF), who will then be responsible for disbursing them to public sector healthcare professionals.”
He added that the National Emergency Operations Centres (EOCs) and vulnerable working class Jamaicans will also directly benefit from the donation.
Founder of NovaMed, Dr. David Walcott commented that, “NovaMed is very pleased to support the ministry with the provision of the supplies as it is very critical that we furnish and support our healthcare workers who are working tirelessly on the frontline against COVID-19. We will continue to support the efforts of our healthcare workers and aim to schedule a second donation that will include N-95 masks.”
Mr. Cephas acknowledged NovaMed’s efforts in the fight against the spread of the Coronavirus as commendable; while noting requests from public sector healthcare workers for N-95 masks.
The initiative by NovaMed is part of its mission to leverage its global footprint and problem solving capabilities to assist Jamaica and other Caribbean countries with responding to healthcare challenges. Their COVID-19 response efforts have included procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other healthcare supplies at affordable rates, and comes on the heels of its acquisition of a mask production line in China.
The Ministry of Health and Wellness joins other groups such as the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA), Council of Voluntary Social Services (CVSS) and a number of secondary schools that have already benefitted from the 500,000 masks allocated for donation to vulnerable working class Jamaicans. Also slated to benefit from NovaMed’s sizeable contribution in the coming days include The Sickle Cell Unit (SCU), Faculty of Medical Sciences at The University of the West Indies, Mona and Vauxhall High School. NovaMed’s global presence has also seen the company include other Caribbean islands such as Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominican Republic, Panama, St Lucia and Bermuda in its list of beneficiaries.
Founding Partner of NovaMed, Kirk-Anthony Hamilton, outlined the reason behind the company’s mandate to help fill the gap for Jamaica and other Caribbean countries challenged by the global demand for PPEs from other countries with larger requests of manufacturers. “Small countries are behind in PPE procurement because they don’t have the bargaining power to acquire protective equipment at bargain prices and are forced to acquire in small quantities at exorbitant prices.”
“We wanted to close this gap and one way of closing this gap was by going up the value chain to gain control of production,” Dr. Walcott added.
NovaMed was conceptualised by Dr. David Walcott and entrepreneur Kirk-Anthony Hamilton with the intention of leveraging global partnerships and cutting-edge technologies to address critical medical challenges in emerging markets.
.Among the immediate solutions, the team said the company is a key participant in the successful COVID-19 pool testing now underway at the University Hospital of the West Indies.