On Monday April 12, 2021, United States Embassy officials visited the U.S. government-funded field hospital, now located at the Spanish Town Hospital in St. Catherine. The Mobile Field Hospital, provided by the U.S. Southern Command in September 2020, was recently visited by Minister of Health and Wellness Christopher Tufton. The Embassy officials follow-on visit was to learn more about the current operations of the field hospital and how the U.S. Embassy can continue to support the Government of Jamaica’s COVID-19 response.
The visiting Embassy team included U.S. Defense Attaché, Lieutenant Colonel Robert C. Ramsey, Jr, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Caribbean Regional Office Director, Dr. Varough Deyde, and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Country Director, Jason Fraser. They met with the hospital’s Chief Executive Officer, Dwayne Francis, to discuss the field hospital’s move to its new location and continued U.S.-Jamaica partnerships in the fight against COVID-19.
U.S. Embassy Chargé d’affaires John McIntyre prompted the visit, remarking “I asked our Embassy team to meet with Spanish Town Hospital officials, following the Minister’s visit, to see where the Embassy can support the local and regional response to COVID-19, while continuing to make long term investments in Jamaica’s health care and emergency response infrastructure.”
The hospital has the capability to house approximately 70 patient beds and will support health and public-safety professionals laboring tirelessly to care for patients and save lives. The modular hospital is equipped to operate autonomously and includes a high efficiency particulate air and ultraviolet-light air-scrubber system, two diesel generators, and eight air conditioning units. Medical teams using the hospital will have the flexibility to configure it to isolate patients and even conduct surgical operations.
Overall, the U.S. government has provided Jamaica with over J$588 million ($4 million USD) in foreign assistance funding to support the country’s ongoing response to COVID-19 and efforts to prevent and control infectious diseases.