Jamaica News: The National Health Fund’s (NHF) ability to respond to the dreaded coronavirus (COVID-19) has been significantly boosted with the recent handover of $168 million in medical supplies by the Issa Trust Foundation and its international partner, Direct Relief.
The donation, which comes at a time when Jamaica’s COVID-19 cases have surpassed the 350 mark, includes asthma inhalers, antibiotics, diabetes and mental health and immune suppression medications, and intravenous (IV) fluids.
Chief Executive Officer of the NHF, Everton Anderson, said both the Issa Trust Foundation and Direct Relief must be commended for lifting the bar in their response to a pandemic that has been wreaking havoc on economies and healthcare systems across the world.
“The NHF extends sincere appreciation to both the Issa Trust Foundation and Direct Relief for pharmaceutical and other medical supplies valued at over US$1 million donated for the Government and people of Jamaica through the NHF, for the response to COVID-19,” Mr. Anderson said.
For her part, Director of Programme Operations with Direct Relief, Genevieve Bitter, said her organisation has had a long-standing relationship with the Issa Trust Foundation and, by extension, Jamaica for many years, adding that there was never a question to lending assistance to the island’s health needs in its fight to contain the spread of COVID-19.
“With the global coronavirus crisis, emphasis has been placed on the critical shortages of masks and personal protective equipment. While these supplies are essential for healthcare workers everywhere, access to medicine is vital in the treatment of ill patients. Items like albuterol and azithromycin are being used to treat patients affected by COVID-19 to lessen respiratory distress,” she noted.
Direct Relief’s collaboration with the Issa Trust Foundation began in 2015 and, to date, the partnership has donated millions of dollars’ worth of pharmaceuticals to the people of Jamaica, through the NHF.
Media Liaison Officer for the Issa Trust Foundation, Sean Edwards, told JIS News, that the organisation had, prior to this donation, already reacted with urgency to the medical needs of the Government by sourcing US$238,000 in equipment and supplies to fight COVID-19.
He praised Direct Relief, calling them an invaluable partner that has never abandoned Jamaica “in a moment of crisis”.
The Issa Trust Foundation is a non-profit organisation established in 2005 by Couples Resorts Jamaica to advocate for the medical and educational needs of children and families in Jamaica.