The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) Jamaica country office handed over a large consignment of N95 respirators to the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) at a ceremony held in Kingston.
The donation of 5,600 N95 masks to MOHW Jamaica was made possible through a Caribbean-wide partnership between PAHO and the Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions (CCCU).
As part of the regional initiative, CCCU pledged US$75,000, with an additional US$30,000 provided by PAHO’s Subregional Program, to procure much needed PPE for frontline workers across seventeen member states.
After consultation and careful consideration of the current number of active cases among eligible member states, it was determined that Jamaica would receive the largest allocation of N95 respirators.
“The purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline healthcare workers comes at a crucial juncture as global supplies in PPE remain limited, with lengthy delays in orders,” said Dr Jacquiline Bisasor-Mckenzie, Chief Medical Officer.
“On behalf of the MOHW and the Jamaican people, we thank Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions and PAHO for their timely donation,” added Dr McKenzie.
In her Address, Dr Bernadette Theodore-Gandi, PAHO/WHO representative for Jamaica, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, emphasised the need to maintain adequate PPE supplies as global cases continue to rise, especially in the Americas.
“Jamaica has done well to flatten the curve, however as nations open their borders the risk for community transmission remains a concern, therefore we must stay prepared,” said Dr Gandi.
Mr. Winston Fletcher, President of the CCCU, noted the importance of a Caribbean-wide donation to assist the regional response.
“As a region of interconnected nations, we realise how one country can affect another, that is why we felt the need to make a region-wide contribution,” explained Mr Fletcher.
To address the growing need for COVID-19 support, PAHO launched a donor appeal in March 2020 to raise US$94.8 million to scale-up COVID-19 preparedness and response efforts across the Americas for six months (March – August 2020).
PAHO is thankful for donations, however a gap remains of over US$64 million.
To support PAHO’s efforts to fight COVID-19 visit www.paho.org/donate.
Contributions will support the tracking and understanding of the spread of the virus, providing frontline workers with essential supplies and information, and accelerate research into the development of a vaccine and effective treatments.