The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) gave the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) US$2 million (J$300 million) to assist in its efforts to increase access to vital medical liquid oxygen (LOX).

This contribution is a part of Washington’s larger response to COVID-19 in Jamaica, as well as preparation for future pandemic threats.

USAID is assisting in strengthening the availability and use of LOX in major public hospitals across the island in response to the crucial need for safe medical oxygen for coronavirus and other respiratory conditions that could be critical.

As the number of Covid-19 cases have increased in Jamaica in the summer of 2021, public-sector hospitals fell back as there ran out of oxygen supplies. Several COVID-19 hospital mortalities have been investigated, with allegations of lack of oxygen being to blame.

“Jamaica is our neighbour, friend, and partner, and what affects one has an effect on us all,” said Nick Perry, the United States’ newly appointed ambassador to Jamaica.

“The United States government recognized the significance of improving Jamaica’s ability to supply and use LOX. I am thrilled that we were able to meet this critical need, which would also help Jamaica better prepare for and position itself to meet future critical healthcare needs.”

Liquid Oxygen is the most cost-effective per-litre option for delivering oxygen to high-demand facilities, with several advantages such as the ability to transport and store large quantities safely; a lower per-patient cost when compared to oxygen in gaseous state; and the ability to rapidly raise quantities for surges. Liquid Oxygen can also be compressed and used to fill cylinders that will provide oxygen to smaller, remote facilities.

The US government’s assistance will go toward LOX infrastructure, such as efficient oxygen piping for major facilities, expanding storage and installation at facilities without LOX access, addressing security and safety issues at the facilities, and providing monitoring systems and commodities to track oxygen flow and usage.

LOX support will offered in eight high-burden hospitals and medical facilities in Jamaica.

In the fight against COVID-19, the US govt has donated more than $16.4 million (J$2.5 billion) to the government of Jamaica.

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