THE American Government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), recently donated US$2 million to support the Government of Jamaica’s drive to expand access to critical medical liquid oxygen.
The donation is a part of the US Government’s broader support to Jamaica in its response to COVID-19 and will also prepare the country for future pandemic threats.
In response to the critical need for reliable medical oxygen for COVID-19 and other respiratory pandemics, USAID is helping to strengthen the availability and use of medical liquid oxygen in major public hospitals across the island.
“Jamaica is our neighbour, partner and friend and what affects one affects us all,” a news release from the US Embassy in Kingston quotes US Ambassador to Jamaica Nick Perry. “The US Government heard and saw the need to strengthen Jamaica’s ability to provide and use liquid oxygen. I am happy that we are able to respond to this critical need which will also help prepare and better position Jamaica to meet future critical health needs.”
Medical liquid oxygen is the most affordable cost-per-litre option to deliver oxygen to high-demand facilities and has many benefits, including the ability to be safely transported and stored in large quantities, lower per patient cost compared to oxygen in gas form, and the capacity to rapidly increase quantities for surges. Liquid oxygen can also be compressed to fill cylinders to supply oxygen to smaller, outlying facilities.
The embassy said the US Government’s support will assist with liquid oxygen infrastructure including efficient oxygen piping for key facilities, expansion of storage and installation at facilities with no medical liquid oxygen access, addressing safety and security issues at the facilities, and providing commodities and monitoring systems to track oxygen flow and usage.
Additionally, medical liquid oxygen support will be provided in eight high-burden hospitals and facilities.
To date, the US Government has donated more than US$16.4 million to the Jamaican Government in the fight against COVID-19.