Executive Chairman of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Juliette Bynoe-Sutherland (centre), is flanked by Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Kenneth George and US Ambassador to Barbados, Linda Taglialatela, President of World Hope International, John Lyon, (second left) and other officials involved in bringing the oxygen plants to Barbados. (B. Hinds/BGIS)

Two oxygen plants, earmarked for the Harrison’s Point Isolation Facility in St. Lucy, arrived at the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA Inc.) this morning with other medical supplies, which are crucial to the COVID-19 effort.

Executive Chairman of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Juliette Bynoe-Sutherland, and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Kenneth George, were on hand to receive the oxygen generating plants, which came as a result of a collaborative effort between Government, the United States Embassy, the United States Southern Command and the United States-based Christian relief organisation, World Hope International.

Mrs. Bynoe-Sutherland expressed her gratitude to the agencies which partnered to make today’s arrival a reality. The hospital manages all of the island’s isolation facilities.  The oxygen plants will cater to the additional bed capacity being put in place at Harrison’s Point.

“We sought to purchase two large capacity oxygen plants to situate at Harrison’s Point. Strategically, what we are looking to do at Harrison’s Point is to expand our critical care Intensive Care Unit beds. We have at Harrison’s Point upgraded our secondary isolation and added an additional [40-plus] beds.

“With each of these ICU types of beds comes the need for additional oxygen capacity. We would’ve sought to purchase oxygen generating plants out of the United States of America, but as you can imagine, the logistics of moving oxygen plants from the manufacturer in California across the length and breadth of the United States to the port of Miami and then from Miami to Barbados, would’ve meant that we needed additional support….  We reached out to the US Government, though the Barbados Defence Force, to be able to access logistical support from the US for the movement of these generators and other equipment.  We are so appreciative of that level of partnership and engagement with us,” she stated.

The oxygen generating plants, seen here on the aiport’s tarmac, will be headed to the Harrison’s Point Isolation Facility to cater to the increased bed capacity there. (B. Hinds/BGIS)

The hospital’s Executive Chairman further noted that with Barbados recording about 300 COVID-19 cases per day, the demand for oxygen had increased significantly.

US Ambassador to Barbados, Linda Taglialatela, said another US-based non-governmental organisation, MAP International, also seized the opportunity to use today’s shipment to donate $3 million worth of medical supplies.

“As we’ve said numerous times…we are neighbours, we are friends, we are partners.  We are here to work together to collaborate and to share. We started from the beginning with providing PPE and other essentials, to providing over 100,000 doses of Pfizer vaccines to Barbados.  We have worked very closely, and this is just another step in that process where we have been able to supply and co-ordinate through our partners in the United States,” she stated.

President of World Hope International, John Lyon, told those gathered at the GAIA Inc., that he was grateful to be a part of the group of agencies which “were able to pull this mission off”.

“In an era of COVID, when one person is at risk, all of us are at risk.  In order to mitigate that type of risk, it takes partnerships; it takes all of the different organisations to be able to make us safe,” he said.

melissa.rollock@barbados.gov.bb

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