US donates emergency equipment to Jamaica for COVID response

The United States Government, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), on Tuesday handed over emergency equipment to the Ministry of Health and Wellness to support Jamaica’s COVID-19 response.

The equipment is part of the US$1 million in assistance USAID is providing to Jamaica to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The United States is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic with decisive action,” a news release from the US Embassy in Kingston quoted Ambassador Donald Tapia. “Our priorities in this response are to protect the safety and health of the Jamaican people by providing high-quality, transparent and meaningful assistance.”

The equipment included:

50 VHF radios;

6 laptops;

50 mobile phones;

1,000 digital body thermometers;

100 infrared thermometers;

43 Samsung Galaxy tablets and cases; and

500 backpacks

“The equipment bolsters the Government’s COVID-19 emergency response and directly aids activities that are vital for helping to #flattenthecurve,” the embassy said.

“The communication and IT equipment will play a vital role in supporting the ministry’s Emergency Operations Centre, which is critical for coordinating the country’s efforts. The thermometers will support disease case management and infection control in health care settings and at point of entry, and the backpacks will enhance health care workers’ ability to engage communities and conduct field work.”

This assistance, the embassy pointed out, builds upon US investments of nearly US$87 million in health and almost US$619 million in total over the past 20 years for Jamaica.

The embassy pointed out that for decades, the United States has been the world’s largest provider of bilateral assistance in public health. Since 2009, American taxpayers have generously made available more than $100 billion in health assistance and nearly $70 billion in humanitarian assistance globally.

The handover was the first in a series of planned transfers of critical equipment to Jamaica.

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