WASHINGTON, DC – As the Jamaican government continues to take steps to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus on the island, the shortage of Personal Protective Equipment is expected to be eased with the donation of a large shipment of sterile gloves, surgical gowns and nebulizers, courtesy of the New York-based American Friends of Jamaica (AFJ).
The shipment of Personal Protective Equipment to include N95 masks, has been consigned to Jamaica’s Ministry of Health for distribution to University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) hospital and other first responders facing a critical shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The donation valued in excess of U$100,000 (J$13.5M), includes over 18,000 N95 masks, nearly 40,000 sterile gloves, 1,140 surgical gowns and nebulizers. UHWI as well as the other of the island’s public medical facilities, have an immediate and critical need of PPEs for medical professionals.
The supplies are scheduled to arrive in Kingston, Jamaica during the first week of April.
Executive Director of AFJ Caron Chung says “We recognize the need to support healthcare resilience in Jamaica and also vulnerable and underserved communities experiencing hardship due to quarantine or school and business closures. We know that our path forward requires working together to help healthcare workers on the frontlines of the pandemic.”
“AFJ will continue to evaluate the needs and opportunities in order to fill the gaps for PPE and other supplies,” Ms Chung added.
The American Friends of Jamaica executive explained that planning for this substantial donation was in progress since last year and were collected months before the COVID-19 outbreak. “It is unfortunate that supplies are limited here in the USA at this time,” she said.
AFJ President Wendy Hart said “COVID-19 is one of the greatest challenges of our time. The AFJ joins in committing its efforts to helping address the highest priority needs of the nation and the people of Jamaica”.
She said the AFJ’s COVID-19 Relief Fund has generated pledged donations which will be used to purchase equipment for public hospitals, support individuals and families facing economic insecurity and uncertainty. These donations are courtesy of the AFJ Board of Directors and supportive AFJ Donors.
“AFJ is grateful to donors and partners Dr. Kenneth Alleyne, MD, Rhoan Stewart, Keisha Lawrence and our hardworking volunteer team who organized and coordinated the delivery of this in-kind donation,” Ms Hart concluded.