The European Union (EU) and its Member States today provided the Government of Jamaica with 29 ventilators, breathing machines that support patients who need intensive care in hospitals, and that are essential to saving the lives of those in critical condition due to Covid-19 infection.
EU Ambassador to Jamaica Malgorzata Wasilewska handed over the equipment to the Minister of Health and Wellness Dr. Christopher Tufton on April 8, 2020. Also in attendance were H.E Hugo Verbist, Ambassador, Belgium; H.E Denys Wibaux, Ambassador, France; H.E Dr Bernd Von Munchow-Pohl, Ambassador Germany; H.E Josep Maria Bosch, Ambassador of Spain.
The ventilators were purchased from European manufacturer Medtronic Plc (Ireland) at the request of the Government under the EU funded Programme for the Reduction of Maternal and Child Mortality (PROMAC).
Ambassador Wasilewska said it was fortuitous that the ventilators that were ordered before the coronavirus outbreak arrived at a time when they are most needed in Jamaica's health system.
"Global demand for this life-saving medical equipment is high at this time and so I am pleased that we were able to beat the rush and deliver them today for the benefit of Jamaicans because they are now a scarce commodity. I take this opportunity on behalf of the European Union and our Member States to commend the Government of Jamaica for the excellent work being done to manage this crisis and to thank all those who are working tirelessly to contain the pandemic and care for those who are sick," Ambassador Wasilewska said.
She further added that as the virus spreads, it is anticipated that more patients will need advanced medical care, so it is important to ensure that the health systems have all the resources that they need, including human and material.
"We are extremely pleased that we are able to contribute to the effort to mitigate the effects of this crisis in Jamaica and save lives - for we are all in this together."
Ambassador Wasilewska said the EU and Jamaica enjoy a solid relationship characterized by a spirit of solidarity and cooperation which is especially important in these trying times. "This is just the beginning, there is definitely more to come in this difficult time," she stressed.
The ventilators valued at over € 850,000 Euros will be distributed to hospitals across the country and medical staff will be trained to use this equipment. The total value of the funding support under PROMAC is €22 million.