Patients in hospital to benefit from oxygen project
The Kingston Public and Annotto Bay hospitals will be retrofitted with the infrastructure required to better support oxygen delivery to patients who use the facilities, through a US$2-million project.
The project, which will provide lifesaving oxygen to the bedsides of patients in need of respiratory support, is being funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Meeting Targets and Maintaining Epidemic Control (EpiC). The project aims to capacitate the public hospitals to expand use of Liquid Medical Oxygen (LOX).
There will be the installation of piping infrastructure that delivers oxygen to patients in the two facilities, as well as training to ensure the efficient management, maintenance and sustainment of the liquid oxygen ecosystem in the country.
Addressing the launch of the LOX expansion project at the health ministry's offices in New Kingston on Thursday, Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton hailed the partnership. He argued that the undertaking represents another good development in public health, "another example of building resilience, another example of building partnerships and, ultimately, it is the people who are going to benefit".
Country Representative, USAID, Alex Gainer, said the project aims to improve the efficiency with which oxygen is supplied, stored and delivered and is a further demonstration of the long-standing Jamaica/US relationship.
"Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the United States has provided approximately US$17 million in assistance to Jamaica for the response ... this is in addition to vaccine donations. The launch of this programme is part of that assistance and demonstrates our partnership with Jamaica. It's not just a response to COVID, but also to prepare for the future," he said.
He said that COVID-19 forcibly showed the world that having a consistent and efficient supply of medical oxygen is critical to saving lives.
Senior Programme Officer of EpiC, Sue-Ann Wallace Brown, said the true beneficiaries of the initiative are the thousands of Jamaicans who will access care at these facilities.
"We are pleased to be partnering with the Ministry of Health on this LOX project, because it is not just for Jamaica; it is for Jamaicans. The work to get us to this stage began several months ago with a rapid assessment which really sought to determine the feasibility of investing in LOX to bolster Jamaica's health system capacity to treat with respiratory illnesses," she noted.
"Working closely with the Ministry of Health, we were able to assess the gaps and determine the best use of the available funds to provide catalytic support to address the country's oxygen use," Wallace Brown added.