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 Christopher Tufton, and NHF Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Everton Anderson, visited the facility on Wednesday to view the items, distribution of which has commenced.
Tufton said that based on the provisions, “we can safely say that for the next two to three months, we have [an adequate] 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. 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”.
Meanwhile, the NHF CEO said that the overall complement of items ordered includes 32 ventilators, 30 ICU beds, 1,500 infrared thermometers, 80 monitors, and 35 suction machines. Anderson said that the supplies will be distributed to designated hospitals and health centres via the Health Ministry’s four Regional Health Authorities. Among those that will benefit are St Ann’s Bay Hospital, Cornwall Regional Hospital, Savanna-la-Mar Hospital, and Victoria Jubilee Hospital.