Jamaica is getting additional funding from the European Union (EU) to respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic through an €8-million grant for regional countries.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, told JIS News that the funds have been approved and will be channelled through the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), and Jamaica has prioritised its portion of the grant.
She said the money will be used to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE), test equipment, along with diagnostic equipment, as “our key priorities”.
Senator Johnson Smith underscored that the grant will be “significant” in the fight against COVID-19.
The Minister was speaking with JIS News on May 20, at the handover of medical equipment valued at approximately $80 million, by the EU to the public health system, at Medical Link Limited in St. Andrew.
Six hospitals across the island will benefit from the equipment.
Johnson Smith lauded Jamaica’s partnership with the EU, noting the impact of the support to the country’s development.
“It has always had a national component, and a regional component, and Jamaica has been a significant beneficiary on both. We have a highly developed project approval and proposal process, which is often guided by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, with my Ministry playing a coordinating role,” she said.
For his part, Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, said the grant is “very positive” and reflects the relationship that Jamaica has with the EU to support the country, even as the EU responds to the COVID-19 crisis in Europe.
“We will put it to good use to build our infrastructure for the most vulnerable in the population,” the Minister said.