Several civil society organizations that support people living with HIV/AIDS received vital personal protective equipment (PPE) from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). The donation included almost fifty thousand surgical masks, over one thousand hand sanitizers and liquid hand soaps. Hundreds of face shields, disposable gowns and gloves were also gifted.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has repeatedly illustrated that a robust health system requires support from civil society organizations. Therefore, we are keen to support organizations that go on the front line to offer HIV testing, counseling and peer support for people living with HIV/AIDS. This donation of PPE equipment seeks to safeguard these professionals as they continue to support people in need,” shared Dr. Audrey Morris, Acting Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Representative for Jamaica, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.
Nine organizations with operations across Jamaica received PPE equipment to last until March 2022. This is the second donation of PPE equipment to HIV/AIDS support organizations since the pandemic began and, based on anticipated need, the donation will meet the demand for an eight-month period. The previous donation was made to seven organizations in October 2020.
“When the pandemic started, the enormous cost of PPE equipment caused us to consider shuttering our doors. Thankfully, the PAHO/UNAIDS donations of PPE equipment came just in time. The donation last year enabled us to continue our one-on-one outreach with the people who need our services. This time around, we have received more supplies, allowing us to travel to more places and impact more lives,” stated Elizabeth Denny, Admin/Finance Officer at Jamaicans for Justice.
Other organizations that received the PPE equipment include Jamaica Network of Seropositives, Jamaica Community of Women Living with HIV, Eve for Life, Children First, Jamaica AIDS Support for Life, Transwave, Equality for All and the ASHE Company.
Commenting on the importance of this donation, Manoela Manova, Country Director for UNAIDS in Jamaica, stated, “Community and civil society organizations are among those providing essential services to the most affected, vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations. We are pleased to be able to support these essential organizations with PPE, so they can continue to provide life-saving services to those in need while keeping their staff and clients protected.”
PAHO and UNAIDS remain committed to empowering civil society organizations in their work to support people living with HIV/AIDS.