U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica Donald Tapia and U.S. Navy Admiral Craig Faller, commander of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), on September 24, officially handed over a field hospital to the government and people of Jamaica. Dr. Christopher Tufton, Jamaican minister of Health and Wellness, and Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith were both on hand to ceremonially receive the field hospital, located at the National Chest Hospital in Kingston.
The donation forms part of SOUTHCOM’s ongoing assistance to nations in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America, and is funded by the Command’s Humanitarian Assistance Program (HAP). In addition to the field hospital, SOUTHCOM funded the donation of hand-held thermometers and patient beds.
The SOUTHCOM-funded hospital is equipped to house approximately 40 patient beds and will support health and public-safety professionals. The modular hospital is equipped to operate autonomously and includes a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) 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 conduct surgical operations, if needed.
During the ceremony, Ambassador Tapia said, “the field hospital demonstrates the U.S. government’s strong commitment to the fight against COVID-19; and we stand firmly with the people and government of Jamaica to support the medical needs of all impacted by this virus.”
The field hospital was set up between September 21-23 and delivered ready for the Jamaican government to staff, equip, and operate. A team of civilian trainers will instruct Jamaican medical and support teams chosen to run the mobile hospital on its assembly, set up, use, disassembly, transportation, and storage. A U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft transported the hospital from Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, to Kingston, Jamaica, on September 19.
Dr. Tufton, speaking on behalf of the government, said, “The government and people of Jamaica are grateful for this donation from the U.S. government. This is timely, as we continue to double our efforts to combat COVID-19. We have not only benefited from a new facility, but the team gained technical knowledge during the training sessions and the set-up of the facility.”