The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has donated 11,000 COVID-19 test kits and just over 780 personal protective equipment (PPE) to Barbados.
Minister of Health and Wellness, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic, accepted the donation from PAHO/WHO Representative to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Dr. Yitades Gebre, during an informal handover today at PAHO Headquarters.
Minister Bostic expressed immense gratitude for the contribution and noted that it increased the island’s complement of COVID-19 test kits to 38,000.
He stressed that the contribution was “timely”, as testing needed to be expanded so Barbados could maintain the containment of the highly contagious illness.
“We believe to be absolutely sure, or to have a greater degree of confidence in what we are doing now and to ensure that we are on top of it with containment, that we need to expand our testing …. We will expand this testing and establish testing centres across the country, so that we can get back to as normal a state as early as possible without compromising public health,” he said.
The Health Minister also thanked PAHO for providing continued support through technical assistance and the provision of equipment.
“We have reached where we have reached because we are not alone. We have been receiving the assistance of the Pan American Health Organization all the way,” he emphasized.
He further pointed out that PAHO’s COVID-19 advice and support were crucial to the fight against the disease.
“We have been following the protocols that were established to deal with such an activity. By following those protocols, I believe we have been doing the right things at the right times, and I would like to say thank you for that kind of support … because from day one that is the foundation that allowed us to build a defence to fight this virus, so thank you very much,” Minister Bostic said.
Dr. Gebre praised the Government and people of Barbados for being “active participants in reducing the impact of COVID-19 in the country”.
He said the island’s approach to fighting the virus was very encouraging, and underscored that many lessons could be learnt from this.
“We are very happy to continue to provide technical, administrative and financial support to the Ministry of Health and to the people of Barbados to make sure that we save lives; protect healthcare workers; and reduce the impact [of COVID-19] in general,” he said.
“As part of our contribution, we provide 11,000 test kits for the Best-dos Santos Public Health Laboratory, in addition we have PPE for healthcare workers. One of the key areas of PAHO’s work is to save lives, and the second is to protect healthcare workers as much as possible through all aspects of our intervention. Therefore, this PPE is key for one use, per person, per engagement,” he said, noting that the PPE would be critical for the healthcare workers, whether they were providing patient care, testing, or simply working at the isolation and quarantine facilities.
Each PPE kit includes a mask, goggles and a full suit.