Canada has chipped in to help Barbados fight COVID-19 with a donation of personal protective equipment.
Through the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Ottawa handed over 59,200 units of respirator masks, 256,000 medical masks, 2,800 protective goggles, and 8,400 isolation gowns to the Ministry of Health, during a brief ceremony at PAHO’s Dayrells Road office.
PAHO/WHO Representative for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Dr Yitades Gebre told reporters the donation is valued at $400,000 (US$200,000). Canada made US$7.5 million available to PAHO in support of its work for essential action to save lives, to protect health care workers, and to slow the spread.
Minister of Health Lt Col Jeffrey Bostic who thanked Canada for the gift and PAHO for handling it, said the PPE has come at a time when Barbados has commenced the resumption of commercial flights, signalling another phase in the country’s efforts to fight the pandemic.
Lt Col Bostic said: “Essential to our efforts going forward is having the equipment that is required for our frontline workers at all levels to be able to safely execute their duties.
“Our efforts will be based a lot on testing at the airport, testing at satellite facilities, and as the flights ramp up even testing throughout the country.
“But in order to be able to do those tests, we need the equipment involved in testing to be in a position to do so very safely. And so this donation is very timely and certainly very much appreciated.”
Dr Gebre said the pandemic is accelerating with the number of daily cases reported to WHO crossing the 200,000 mark. In all, over 12 million cases have been reported to WHO over the last six months, with over a million cases being reported in each of the last three weeks.
Dr Gebre said: “The Americas are the hardest hit region currently, contributing to over half of the new cases. Along with the Americas, the South-East Asian and African regions are seeing rapid growth. The United States of America, Brazil and India remain the top three most affected countries in recent days.
“In addition, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru in the Americas, Bangladesh in the South-East Asian region; South Africa in the African region and Pakistan and Saudi Arabia in the Eastern-Mediterranean region continue to be heavily affected.” [email protected]