The Government Wednesday received 29 ventilators valued at approximately €1 million (approximately $149 million) from the European Union (EU) to support patients who need intensive care in hospitals and to treat people infected with the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
They will be distributed to hospitals across the island. Of the total, six are small mobile ventilators.
The units were handed over to Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton by EU Ambassador to Jamaica Malgorzata Wasilewska during a ceremony on the grounds of Medical Link Limited at 14A Cargill Avenue in St Andrew.
Expressing thanks for the life-saving machines on behalf of the Government and people of Jamaica, Dr Tufton said they will add to the 25 already in use in the public health system.
“This has effectively doubled the capacity of what we had originally, as we did bring in another eight or 10 over the last number of weeks and there are more to come,” the minister said.
“The ultimate goal is to have between 90 and 100 to support persons who may become sufficiently ill to require that high level of support. It would put us right in the zone where we would be comfortable and able to give that option to patients who need it; so we are on track,” he added.
He noted that the addition of the machines represents a major advancement in the implementation of the COVID-19 response plan as the Government continues to build its capacity to treat Jamaicans who become infected.
Ambassador Wasilewska said she was honoured to assist in bringing the ventilators to the people of Jamaica in the time of such need.
“The ventilators arrived this week and I was extremely impressed at how quickly they were cleared by Customs. There is an enormous demand for these machines worldwide, and so we are very lucky to be able to get so many of them and bring them back to Jamaica,” she said.
She added, too, that the EU is providing other medical supplies and equipment that are expected to arrive in the country at a later date.
She expressed gratitude to all who came together to bring the equipment into the island.
“The equipment is made in Ireland by Medtronic. They are extremely high-quality ventilators,” the ambassador said.
The units were purchased under the EU-funded Programme for the Reduction of Maternal and Child Mortality. — JIS
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