On Wednesday (March 1) United States Ambassador to Jamaica Nick Perry, accompanied by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Caribbean Regional Office Director, Dr Emily Kainne Dokubo, donated laboratory equipment to the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
The donation is valued at approximately J$91 million.
Juliet Cuthbert Flynn, minister of state in the Ministry of Health & Wellness, received the donation on behalf of the ministry during an event held in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
In partnership with the ministry, the CDC has provided technical expertise and financial assistance to support COVID-19 response efforts and address other health threats.
Through an agreement with PAHO, the CDC funded procurement of a genomic sequencing machine and laboratory reagents to increase diagnostic capacity for COVID-19 and other diseases as part of surveillance and laboratory systems strengthening. An additional genomic sequencing machine was also procured through funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.
A plasma apheresis machine, the first of its kind in Jamaica, was also donated and is hoped to improve blood donation and transfusion services. The device receives blood from a blood donor and separates it into different components – red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma, and platelets – increasing capacity to offer life-saving blood products to Jamaicans.
The donated equipment will be placed at the National Public Health Laboratory (NPHL) to increase diagnostic capacity in Jamaica.
The NPHL is a public health facility comprised of several reference laboratory units that provide referral services across Jamaica. They perform specialised testing for priority infectious and non-communicable diseases, conduct laboratory-based disease surveillance, and provide quality assurance for Jamaica’s public health laboratory network. The CDC supports them to strengthen the national laboratory system and supports quality of diagnostic services in other laboratory facilities across the island.
Through the CDC, the US said it remains committed to supporting Jamaica to strengthen its health systems and improve health outcomes for the population.
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