May Pen gets 40-bed field hospital
THE UNITED States Government has partnered with the private sector to establish a 40-bed field hospital that is now up and running at the May Pen Hospital in Clarendon.
The new facility is expected to ease the burden that has been placed on the hospital as a result of the rising COVID-19 cases.
John McIntyre, chargé d’affaires at the United States Embassy, said the investment is the second of two field hospitals in Jamaica. It comes under the embassy’s humanitarian-assistance programme.
The field hospital comes with generators and comprises a staff area, piped oxygen, and some permanent bathrooms, which are now being erected.
“This is an investment for now and an investment for the future, and we are gonna keep doing that. That’s a commitment,” McIntyre said of the substantial donation valued at US$850,000.
“The humanitarian assistance helps partner nations build their disaster-readiness response and mitigation capabilities. The programme funds infrastructure equipment and training to help nations to prepare for crisis but also to support countries,” McIntyre stated during his address at the official opening of the field hospital yesterday on the grounds of the hospital.
To date, the US government has donated over US$12 million in COVID-related assistance to Jamaica for ICU beds, medical equipment, improved communication support to emergency operation centres, and to provide mobile field hospitals.
In addition, McIntyre explained that the USAID will be donating an additional US$5.2 million to advance vaccinations and strengthen the health system to diagnose, manage, and mitigate COVID-19 transmission.
“In addition, through the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we continue to support the minister’s ministry to test and identify COVID variants circulating in Jamaica, and we are also helping with the procurement of a genome sequencing platform (advanced sequencing technologies enable researchers to study subtle differences in the genome) for Jamaica.”
Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton, in thanking the US Government for its generous donations, said it symbolise the collaboration that is necessary to overcome a pandemic.
“We rise and fall together. That’s why we have variant strains inequity in terms of the opportunity to tackle this pandemic, and I think the US, in this respect and on this occasion, is once again demonstrating leadership that we expect of them as one of our most significant powerful neighbours to not just Jamaica, but to this region.”
With the field hospital now up and running, Dr Tufton noted that his ministry is now putting additional facilities at the University Hospital of the West Indies and Savanna-La-Mar Hospital in Westmoreland. Mandeville hospital is also going to benefit from a similar facility.
“We [are] looking at adding capacity in excess of 300 bedz, but we do tweak it a bit. This is all in demonstrating tangible response to the treatment of the COVID-19 virus. The truth is no public-health system could have adequately planned for this pandemic. Because of the challenges, of the threat, we have to find a solution approach that is going to be collaborative and adds capacity globally. Certainly, in the case of countries like Jamaica, we depend on others to provide assistance even as we try to help ourselves.”