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. The facility located at the National Chest Hospital in St Andrew, was handed over to the Jamaican Government in a ceremony yesterday.
Ambassador Marks (picture left) 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 space 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.
She expressed appreciation to the USA teams led by SOUTHCOM Admiral Craig Faller and US Embassy’s Ambassador 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 hand-held 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.
In the meantime, Health Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton says another 40-bed facility, which will be based at the Mandeville Regional Hospital in Manchester, is currently being negotiated with a Canadian company with the support and assistance of the Canadian Government.
“That discussion is in full train and we hope to have the arrival of that facility in short order,” he said.
“We have two others that we are going to be building out, meaning building a frame and then equipping them. One will be at St. Joseph’s Hospital, which is a 36-bed facility and that will commence shortly… the other will be [at] the Falmouth Hospital, [also] a 36-bed facility,” the Health Minister informed.
He said that the provision of additional bed space is an essential part of the Government’s COVID-19 response.
“That is in keeping with our commitment to ensure that we can manage any possible extreme flow of persons needing hospital care in that important category of positive cases – persons with symptoms who need hospital care,” he said.
- Countries: Jamaica