Fri | Oct 23, 2020

Timely gift - Marks praises US donation of field hospital, supplies

Published:Saturday | September 26, 2020 | 12:05 AM
An aerial photograph of the completed COVID-19 field hospital at the National Chest Hospital in St Andrew.
An aerial photograph of the completed COVID-19 field hospital at the National Chest Hospital in St Andrew.
Marks
Marks
Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton examines a bed at the field hospital at the National Chest Hospital in Kingston on Thursday. To his left are Minister of Foreign Affairs Kamina Johnson Smith and United States Ambassador Donald Tapia. T
Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton examines a bed at the field hospital at the National Chest Hospital in Kingston on Thursday. To his left are Minister of Foreign Affairs Kamina Johnson Smith and United States Ambassador Donald Tapia. The field hospital was gifted by Washington at a cost of $12 million.
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WASHINGTON, DC:

Jamaica’s ambassador to the United States, Audrey Marks, has thanked the United States government for donating a 70-bed mobile field hospital to Jamaica, saying it is a timely gift that will help fight the coronavirus, especially with a recent rise in the number of COVID-19 cases across the island.

The US$753,000 mobile field hospital, part of US Southern Command’s (SOUTHCOM) ongoing assistance to the Caribbean, Central America, and South America, was delivered in Kingston on Friday, September 18, by the US Air Force. It was installed and officially handed over to the Jamaican Government at a September 24 ceremony at the National Chest Hospital in St Andrew.

Marks noted that even amidst its own efforts to contain the spread of the virus, the United States was “willing to assist Jamaica in our battle against the pandemic”. She said the current spike posed a worrying trend to Jamaicans at home and in the diaspora.

The additional bed spaces and operating facility were a welcome addition that will help ease the burden that the coronavirus pandemic was putting on the island’s health system, the Jamaican ambassador said.

GRATEFUL

She expressed appreciation to the teams led by SOUTHCOM Admiral Craig Faller and US Ambassador to Jamaica Donald Tapia for the very productive working relationship in bringing impactful support to Jamaica during this critical time.

Equipped to operate autonomously, the new mobile hospital includes a high-efficiency particulate-air and ultraviolet-light air-scrubber system, two diesel generators, and eight air-conditioning units.

The field hospital can be configured to isolate patients and conduct surgical operations where necessary, according to the US military, which also donated handheld thermometers and patient beds worth some US$86,000.

A team of civilian trainers will instruct Jamaican medical and support teams chosen to run the mobile hospital on its assembly, set-up, use, disassembly, transportation, and storage.