Jamaica has received a donation of emergency equipment from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), to boost the country’s coronavirus (COVID-19) response.
The donation is part of a US$700, 000 COVID-19 support programme to enhance Jamaica’s capacity to prevent, detect, monitor and control outbreaks of the virus, as well as improve the ability of the health system to care for those affected by the disease.
The items procured by PAHO, through USAID funding, include a high capacity printer, 50 mobile phones, 43 android tablets, 6 laptops, 100 infrared non-co¬ntact thermometers, 500 backpacks and a consignment of digital thermometers.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony held on Tuesday (June 16) at the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ New Kingston offices, portfolio Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, noted that the donation comes at a time when the Government is easing restrictions in order to resume economic activities.
“As we seek to open up, the capacity to screen and to conduct surveillance and monitor will certainly be enhanced by your contribution,” he noted.
“It is timely, and will go a for way in boosting the capacity of the public health system as we attempt to control and address the threats due to the coronavirus,” he added.
United States Ambassador to Jamaica, Donald Tapia, in his remarks, applauded Jamaica for the proactive response to the COVID-19 pandemic and pledged his country’s continued commitment to help with the fight.
He said that the donation of the supplies will boost existing efforts and enhance capacity to effectively respond to future crisis.
Meanwhile, PAHO’S Representative to Jamaica, Dr. Bernadette Theodore-Gandi, noted that the support to Jamaica is being provided in phases in order to ensure that there are no delays in accessing vital supplies.
The next phase will involve the handing over of an ambulance, intensive care unit beds, very high frequency (VHF) radios, satellite phones and scanners.
In addition, assistance will be provided in retrofitting an isolation facility at the Sangster International Airport, supporting the Ministry’s risk communication and community engagement interventions, and increasing Internet bandwidth to key health sites.