Sat | Jun 6, 2020

AFJ donates protective gear to health ministry

Published:Monday | March 30, 2020 | 12:05 AM
American Friends of Jamaica Executive Director Caron Chung and volunteer Keisha Lawrence prepare the shipment of personal protective equipment for delivery to Jamaica.
American Friends of Jamaica Executive Director Caron Chung and volunteer Keisha Lawrence prepare the shipment of personal protective equipment for delivery to Jamaica.

WASHINGTON, DC:

AS THE Jamaican Government continues to take steps to combat the spread of COVID-19 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 nebulisers, courtesy of the New York-based American Friends of Jamaica (AFJ).

The shipment of gear, which includes N95 masks, has been consigned to the Ministry of Health and Wellness for distribution to the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) and other first responders facing a critical shortage of gear amid the pandemic.

The donation, valued in excess of U$100,000 (J$13.5 million), includes more than 18,000 N95 masks, nearly 40,000 sterile gloves, 1,140 surgical gowns, and nebulisers.

The supplies are scheduled to arrive in Kingston during the first week of April.

Executive director of AFJ, Caron Chung, said that her organisation would continue to evaluate the needs and opportunities in order to fill the gaps for protective equipment and other supplies.

“We recognise the need to support healthcare resilience in Jamaica and also vulnerable and underserved communities experiencing hardship due to quarantine, or school and business closures,” said Chung.

“We know that our path forward requires working together to help healthcare workers on the front line of the pandemic.”

The AFJ executive said that planning for the donation had been 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.

Great challenge

AFJ President Wendy Hart said that COVID-19 was “one of the greatest challenges of our time,” adding that it was committed to helping “address the highest priority needs of the nation and the people of Jamaica”.

She said AFJ’s COVID-19 Relief Fund has generated pledged donations that will be used to purchase equipment for public hospitals, as well as support individuals and families facing economic insecurity.

The donations are courtesy of the AFJ board of directors and supportive donors.

“AFJ is grateful to donors and partners, Dr Kenneth Alleyne, Rhoan Stewart, Keisha Lawrence, and our hard-working volunteer team who organised and coordinated the delivery of this in-kind donation,” Hart said