On Tuesday, 21 April 2020, the PAHO/WHO Office in Barbados presented Barbados with equipment to support its response to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The donation, presented by Dr Yitades Gebre, PAHO/WHO Representative to Barbados and Eastern Caribbean Countries to Lt Col Honourable Jeffery Bostic, Minister of Health and Wellness, included 782 personal protective equipment (PPE) kits (gowns, gloves, goggles, shoe covers, coveralls, medical masks, N95 masks) for health care workers and COVID-19 test kits of primers, probes and controls capable of performing 11,000 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for the Best Dos Santos Laboratory. Chief Medical Officer, Dr Kenneth George, also attended the presentation ceremony.
Dr Gebre said that “We are encouraged by what has taken place in this country. The people of Barbados have been resilient and very active participants in reducing the impact of COVID-19, with decisive leadership at the highest level”. He assured that PAHO would continue to provide technical, administrative and financial support to the Ministry of Health and people of Barbados, to make sure lives are saved, health care workers protected and reduction of the societal impact.
On behalf of the Prime Minister of Barbados, Lt Col Hon Bostic, thanked the Director of PAHO and staff for the donation. He said the “we have reached where we are because we are not alone, we have been receiving assistance from the Pan American Health Organization all the way”. The minister said it was not just about the technical and administrative support, but that the government has been following PAHO/WHO protocols established to deal with events like COVID-19. He said that by following the protocols, they have been doing the right things at the right time.
On 18 March 2020, PAHO made a similar donation of PPE to the Barbados Defense Force.