The Government has received the first shipment of some $1 billion worth of medical equipment and supplies that have been procured to bolster Jamaica’s coronavirus (COVID-19) response.
The items, which are being stored at the National Health Fund (NHF) warehouse in Kingston, include ventilators, intensive care unit (ICU) beds, stretchers, infrared thermometers, and N95 masks.
These were sourced from several countries, including the People’s Republic of China, Ireland, and the United States of America.
Health and Wellness Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, and NHF Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Everton Anderson, visited the facility on Wednesday (April 8) to view the items, distribution of which has commenced.
Dr. Tufton shared that based on the provisions, “we can safely say that for the next two to three months, we have supply in storage”.
“So I want to say to the people of Jamaica, we are prepared… to the extent that persons have to be treated in hospitals. We are, in fact, a lot more prepared now than we were a month or six weeks ago,” he said.
The Minister advised that arrangements are now being finalised for a second shipment of supplies “because we want to ensure that we do not have any shortages [or] runouts. Clearly, we have to be ready to manage cases, once those are determined”.
Dr. Tufton thanked the NHF for managing the procurement process, and other stakeholders who provided support in terms of identifying the source markets and logistics management.
He said the Government is confident that Jamaica is “in a good position” to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak, and noted that “clearly, the message is still prevention”.
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