International solidarity critical in COVID-19 fight—Dr Figueroa

Dr Peter Figueroa

Professor of Public Health, Epidemiology and HIV/AIDS at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona Campus, Dr Peter Figueroa, has said that “international solidarity” is critical in the fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19).

He said that countries must act to support each other, sharing experiences and treatment options. “We have to share the lessons that we can learn from controlling and containing COVID and ensure that all countries benefit from the technology, tests and any new treatment and pharmaceuticals that are developed,” he added.

He was addressing a teleconference dubbed ‘COVID-19: Approaching Code Red’, hosted recently by the Faculty of Medical Sciences at the UWI, Mona. Figueroa, who spoke on the topic ‘Success stories in the containment and control of COVID-19, noted that Jamaica and other countries in the region have received assistance from Cuba, through the provision of medical professionals. He said that Cuban doctors and nurses were also deployed to Italy to provide support to that country.

“There was a billionaire in Asia who sent supplies over to Latin America and South America to help countries there, so it is important that we recognise that we are all in this together,” he pointed out. Noting the assistance provided by the World Health Organization (WHO), he said that the entity sounded the alarm early and advised countries repeatedly to act. “The WHO has provided a whole range of technical advice and resources. In Jamaica, we got our initial testing kits through the help of PAHO and the WHO. They have been doing this internationally,” he said.

Figueroa noted that people “have also come together at different points to pay solidarity to the front-line workers and healthcare providers.

There are more than two million reported COVID-19 cases globally, with more than 140,000 deaths.