Kingston, 06 October 2020. Jamaica’s COVID-19 response was strengthened today with the assistance of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) Jamaica country office, through the provision of essential items to support the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) at a ceremony in Kingston.
PAHO, through USAID funding, procured items based on the priority needs outlined by the MOHW, including 15 intensive-care unit beds, 13 satellite phones, 5 scanners and over 2000 risk communication materials to educate and inform Jamaican healthcare workers in health facilities and international travellers at ports of entry.
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 final stage of the handover will include an ambulance and 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’s COVID-19 response has, as a key pillar, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), which has been providing support from the immergence of this virus. We have benefited from technical expertise and we continue to be support through the donations of essential equipment that has contributed to the success of our response. On behalf of the government and people of Jamaica, we thank PAHO for its sustained effort in ensuring that Jamaicans have the opportunity for a favourable outcome against this virus,” said a grateful Minister of Health & Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, MP.
One of the donated ICU beds
“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 USAID Country Representative, Mr Jason Fraser, at the PAHO Jamaica country office.
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The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) works with the countries of the Americas and Caribbean to improve the health and quality of life of its population. Founded in 1902, it is the world’s oldest international public health agency. It serves as the Regional and Country Office of WHO for the Americas and is the specialized health agency of the Inter-American system.