KINGSTON, Jamaica— The Ministry of Health and Wellness has distributed two million disposable masks to several key entities and vulnerable groups to aid in the prevention and control of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The items, procured from various international partners through the National Health Fund (NHF), were handed over during a ceremony at the Pegasus Hotel in Kingston on Friday (February 11).
They will benefit schools, frontline workers, church groups, vulnerable populations including persons with disabilities, among others.
Health minister, Dr Christopher Tufton, who made the presentations, said that mask-wearing has been a highly effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and urged citizens not to become complacent in this regard, even as the country approaches the tail end of the fourth wave.
“I have to continue to drive the message around the need for us to remain vigilant, to follow the protocols. I am also desirous of restoring normality and the way of life as we all know it…but we also have to accept the realities,” he said.
Minister of Education and Youth, Fayval Williams, who received a share of the donation, amounting to 400,000 masks, for distribution to schools, said that the items will be critical as full face-to-face classes resume.
“We certainly want to ensure that our children, teachers, and the public have the resources needed to mitigate the spread of the virus. The health and education of our children is a collective national responsibility,” she noted.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of the NHF, Everton Anderson, said the entity is focused on meeting the various needs in the pandemic response.
“Since the pandemic, our agency [has] partnered with approximately 80 different countries to bring supplies into Jamaica. It has been a challenge, but we could not have done it without partnership,” he noted.
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