Sat | May 28, 2022

Germany gifts supplies for COVID-19 fight

Published:Wednesday | January 19, 2022 | 12:09 AM
Dr Christopher Tufton (right), minister of health and wellness, opens an ultra-low temperature vaccine freezer while interacting with (from left) Dr Marion Bullock-DuCasse, adviser to PAHO; Frank Bernhardt, charge d’affaires of the German Embassy; Ian St
Dr Christopher Tufton (right), minister of health and wellness, opens an ultra-low temperature vaccine freezer while interacting with (from left) Dr Marion Bullock-DuCasse, adviser to PAHO; Frank Bernhardt, charge d’affaires of the German Embassy; Ian Stein, PAHO-WHO representative for Jamaica, Bermuda, and the Cayman Islands; and Everton Andreson, CEO of the National Health Fund (NHF). The Government of Jamaica received more than $40 million in supplies to bolster its fight against COVID-19. The handover took place at the NHF warehouse on Tuesday.

Jamaica’s COVID-19 response has been bolstered with the donation of medical equipment and supplies from Germany valued at $43.8 million.

Among the items handed over to the Ministry of Health and Wellness on Tuesday were 500,000 surgical masks, 300 long-range vaccine carriers, two ultra-low temperature vaccine freezers, and two vital sign monitors.

Laptops, printers, and promotional materials to support the COVID-19 communication and vaccination efforts were also donated.

Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton said Jamaica’s healthcare system continues to benefit from partnerships during the pandemic, which are vital to making healthcare more efficient.

The Government has had to collaborate with private-sector entities to store COVID-19 Pfizer vaccines.

“It requires particular levels of storage. This donation will certainly help us to gain some independence, if not total, but certainly it will build out some capacity here for us to be able to store some of them on our own,” Tufton said.

Chargé d’affaires at the German Embassy, Frank Bernhardt, said the donation was evidence of the strong diplomatic relations it has shared with Jamaica for almost 60 years.

Germany previously donated 108,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Jamaica.

“We are pleased to join the Jamaican Government in combating and containing the spread of COVID-19. Today’s equipment and supplies handover represents the culmination of efforts by our recently departed ambassador, His Excellency Dr Stefan Keil, and PAHO,” Bernhardt said.

Keil died suddenly last December.

Meanwhile, PAHO/WHO representative in Jamaica, Ian Stein, said as Jamaica works towards containing the fourth wave of the pandemic, PAHO would continue to partner with the island in prioritising current health challenges and those to come.

“The ultra-low freezers will build out the capacity of the Ministry of Health and Wellness to maintain and increase the supply of vaccines which have arrived and will continue to arrive. The long-range vaccine carriers will reinforce the ministry’s efforts to broaden access to vaccines,” Stein said.

judana.murphy@gleanerjm.com