Jamaica’s health system has been further boosted to fight the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic through a donation of equipment valued at approximately $80 million (€535,000) from the European Union (EU).
The items, which include patient monitors, infusion pumps, defibrillators, and intensive care unit beds, were provided under the EU-funded Programme for the Reduction of Maternal and Child Mortality (PROMAC).
The donation follows a previous contribution in April when the Government received 29 ventilators valued at approximately $149 million (€1 million) from the EU, to support patients in intensive care in hospitals and to treat those infected with COVID-19.
Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, in expressing gratitude said that the items will help in boosting the country’s COVID-19 response in the first instance, and significantly enhance child and maternal care in Jamaica.
“It is part of our COVID readiness, though it never started out that way,”he noted, at the handover ceremony held on Wednesday (May 20) at Medical Link Limited in St. Andrew.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, in her remarks, said that the donation of the medical supplies is a tangible indication of the EU’s support to Jamaica.
She noted that the health sector “is being provided with relevant equipment to tackle COVIDand also to meet needs after COVID, ensuring that our maternal and child mortality is supported as best as possible”.
Head of the EU Delegation to Jamaica, Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska, for her part, said there is agreement with the Government to utilise the equipment in the country’s fight against the COVID-19 and when the pandemic is under control, it will go back to its original use in support of maternal and child health.
She lauded the Government’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis, noting that containment of the virus is being done in “an impressive way”.
The €22-million PROMAC project aims to reduce the incidence of neonatal deaths due to lack of access to high-dependency care, lower maternal deaths due to lack of access to emergency obstetrics care, and improve the quality of management of high-risk pregnancies at both tertiary and primary healthcare facilities.
It includes construction of high dependency units at facilities across the island to enhance the quality of care for premature infants and high-risk pregnant women.