PAHO, USAID bolster Jamaica’s COVID-19 Response

Minister takes PWR temp

Kingston, 16 June 2020. The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) Jamaica country office, with the assistance of USAID, handed over essential items to support the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) in the ongoing COVID-19 response at a ceremony in Kingston today.

PAHO, through USAID funding, procured items based on the priority needs outlined by the MOHW, including a high capacity printer, 50 mobile phones, 43 android tablets, 6 laptops, 100 infrared non-co­ntact thermometers, 500 backpacks and 1000 digital thermometers.

These items are part of a $US700,000 COVID-19 response package to scale up Jamaica’s capacity to prevent, detect, monitor and control outbreaks of COVID-19, and build international and national coordination and operational support, as well as enhance the ability of the heath system to care for those affected by the disease.

The next phase of the handover in the coming weeks, will include an ambulance, intensive care unit beds, VHF radios, satellite phones and scanners. Furthermore, the MOHW COVID-19 response will be enhanced with the retrofitting of an isolation facility at Sangster International Airport, as well as supporting the MOHW risk communication and community engagement interventions, and increasing internet bandwidth to key health sites to enhance coordination.

“Jamaica continues to enjoy a fruitful relationship with PAHO and USAID, as the country further advances its COVID-19 response. These donated items will help to bolster this response. On behalf of the government and people of Jamaica, we thank PAHO and USAID for their support of our public health efforts, as we work towards achieving the best health outcome for all. This donation, again represents the best in partnership in the public health system and stands as a true example for countries around the world to emulate,” said a grateful Minister of Health & Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, MP.

PAHO remains committed to assist in the country-level response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as a key technical partner with the Health & Wellness Ministry, said Dr. Bernadette Theodore-Gandi, PAHO/WHO representative for Jamaica, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. “We will continue to provide ongoing support and capacity building in the areas of epidemiology and surveillance, health emergency, risk communication, health systems and non-communicable diseases.”

The COVID-19 assistance package was handed over to Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, Minister of Health and Wellness, by Dr. Bernadette Theodore-Gandi, PAHO/WHO representative for Jamaica, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands and United States Ambassador to Jamaica, H.E Donald R. Tapia, at the MOHW Emergency Operations Centre.