Kingston, Jamaica, March 2, 2023 (PAHO/WHO) – The United States of America’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) have partnered to strengthen Jamaica’s health response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a handover ceremony on Wednesday, March 1, 2023, Mr. Ian Stein, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/ World Health Organization (WHO) Representative to Jamaica, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands and His Excellency Nick Perry, United States Ambassador to Jamaica delivered emergency response equipment to the Hon. Juliet Cuthbert Flynn, State Minister in the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) valued at US$586,156.79.
The MOHW received two genomic sequencing machines, with the associated components, accessories and reagent kits, and one plasma apheresis machine. The donation represents another iteration of critical equipment and technical cooperation supplied by the CDC and PAHO respectively.
In his remarks at the handover ceremony, U.S. Ambassador Nick Perry, discussed the intended use of the items donated and his country’s longstanding commitment to supporting Jamaica. He asserted, “the donated items, valued at approximately $91 million Jamaican dollars, will be placed at the National Public Health Laboratory, and will increase diagnostic capacity in Jamaica as part of efforts to respond to COVID-19 and other disease outbreaks. The United States remains committed to supporting Jamaica to strengthen its health systems and improve health outcomes.”
Mr. Stein, highlighted the long-standing nature of the joint PAHO-CDC support for the COVID-19 response in Jamaica. He said, “PAHO/WHO is pleased to partner with CDC on this COVID-19 Response Project in Jamaica. Due to the urgent need for this vital equipment, we conducted the hand-over in phases to ensure that these items are utilized immediately to expand Jamaica’s pandemic response”.
While accepting the donation on behalf of the Government of Jamaica, Hon. Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn, Minister of State, Ministry of Health & Wellness said, “The nation is especially pleased to have the support of the CDC, a world-renowned body in global health. CDC’s expertise has served to strengthen public health departments, bolstering their abilities to respond to public health threats, including infectious diseases. This meaningful partnership serves as a solid reminder of the friendship that exists between Jamaica and the United States.”
Over the three-year period of the pandemic, Jamaica recorded 154, 287 infections with over 3,511 deaths confirmed up to February 27, 2023. The seven-day (February 21-27, 2023) positivity rate stood at 12.5%.