PAHO Donates J$40 Million in Medical Equipment to Jamaica to Aid National COVID-19 Response

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica’s COVID-19 response has been boosted by approximately J$40 million (US$258,000) in the form of new medical equipment, courtesy of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

pahOOOMinister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Christopher Tufton (center), is shown new medical equipment donated by PAHO by Advisor for Health Emergencies at PAHO country office in Jamaica, Dr. Marion Bullock DuCasse (right). Looking on is PAHO/WHO representative to Jamaica, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, Ian Stein.The donation was made Wednesday at PAHO’s country office in Kingston. Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Christopher Tufton in his expression of gratitude to the organization, lauded the partnership that has been helping to strengthen Jamaica’s healthcare services.

“Since the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in March 2020, Jamaica has received partnership support to the tune of more than J$2 billion (US$12,899), including through PAHO,” said the Minister.

“Even now, as we enjoy a period of low infections, PAHO continues to show us its unwavering support with… corresponding donations to the National COVID-19 Response.”

Among the donated items are 30,000 COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Diagnostic tests, digital blood-pressure machines, medicine and emergency trolleys, oxygen flow meters, high-flow nasal oxygen devices, nebulizers, pulse oximeters and electrocardiogram (ECG) cards.

PAHO/WHO representative to Jamaica, Bermuda, and the Cayman Islands, Ian Stein, in his address noted that the items support laboratory diagnosis, case management (especially for the critically ill) as well as the health emergency operations center coordination function.

“We are providing items that are critical for Jamaica’s current stage of the COVID-19 response…. We have devoted resources to obtaining lifesaving equipment for children in the form of more than 60 child nebulizer kits,” he said.

He said the donation will better support the Ministry’s efforts to continue to transform healthcare service delivery and operations using technology.

As of Wednesday, the number of COVID-19 vaccination doses administered per 100 Jamaicans rose to 47, with several vaccination blitzes continuing across the island where Jamaicans can access any of four brands of the vaccine.

Minister Tufton reiterated the importance of vaccination and used the opportunity to caution Jamaicans that COVID-19 is not over just yet, despite the recent relaxation of some containment measures.

According to the Minister, the public health team continues to track the threat that COVID-19 represents and to the extent that that threat becomes imminent, some measures will be reconsidered.

“We continue to monitor and advise the public and to encourage persons to get vaccinated… and we will continue to collaborate with organizations like PAHO,” he said.