Jamaica’s capacity to monitor and treat patients with the coronavirus (COVID-19) has been boosted by the donation of a field hospital, valued at approximately $105 million by the United States (US) Government.
The 70-bed facility, located on the grounds of the National Chest Hospital in St. Andrew, was officially handed over on Thursday (September 24) by US Ambassador to Jamaica, Donald Tapia, and Commander, US Southern Command, Admiral Craig Faller.
It is equipped with handheld thermometers and patient beds.
Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton; and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith accepted the donation on behalf of the Government and people of Jamaica.
In expressing gratitude, Dr. Tufton said that the field hospital “could not have come at a better time.”
“Those who track what is happening as it relates to the COVID journey that we are traveling on would recognize that just a few weeks ago, we declared community transmission, which is a phase of the virus that means more persons will have the virus. The response that is required, as a result of this, means more infrastructure, and so the facility here has come at the right time,” he noted.
In his response, Mr. Tapia said he is confident the hospital will be put to good use.
“This symbolizes another milestone in the long-standing partnership between the two countries. Whether its security, business, or public health, the United States of America and Jamaica have established a strong tradition of cooperation,” he noted.
Mr. Tapia said that when the current crisis has passed, the hospital will remain as a vital tool in response to any future public health emergency or national disaster, whether in Jamaica or throughout the Caribbean.
This donation forms part of US Southern Command’s ongoing assistance to nations in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America, and is funded by the Command’s Humanitarian Assistance Program (HAP).
The US Southern Command has also funded the donation of handheld thermometers and patient beds at the cost of approximately $12 million.
This modular hospital is equipped to operate autonomously and includes a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) and ultraviolet-light air-scrubber system, two diesel generators, and eight air-conditioning units.
Medical teams using the hospital will have the flexibility to configure it to isolate patients and conduct surgical operations if needed.
Edited by Jesus Chan
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