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Guyana is among countries that will benefit from a US$4.8M Project that will provide life-saving treatment to COVID-19 infected patients, in addition to strengthening public healthcare systems.
The multimillion-dollar project is being funded by the Government of Japan, however, it is being managed by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) for Enhancing the Healthcare System through the Provision of Medical Equipment in Belize, Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad & Tobago.
The agreement was signed earlier this week during a simple ceremony held at the UNOPS office in San José.
Ambassador of Japan in Costa Rica, Komatsu Shinjiro; UNOPS Multi-Country Office Director for Costa Rica, Panama and the English and Dutch Speaking Caribbean, Alejandro Rossi; and Trinidad and Tobago Embassy Representative in San Jose, Anesa Ali-Rodríguez were among the officials present.
In a statement on Wednesday, UNOPS said the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted countries in different ways, however, it has equally showcased the importance of strengthening public health systems.
“In order to provide an efficient and effective COVID-19 response, governments focus a great part of their efforts towards ensuring solid healthcare systems to safeguard the population,” it posited.
As such, it said with the use of the grant from the Government of Japan, UNOPS will support the procurement of $4.8M of essential medical equipment, medical supplies and personal protective equipment to aid in the public health response to the current crisis.
By providing support to the governments, the project will contribute to enhance the healthcare systems of Belize, Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad & Tobago; benefitting around 57,420 people.
“Japan hopes to continue strengthening relations of friendship and goodwill with the nations of Belize, Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago and contribute to the global response against the new coronavirus. It is in the mutual interest of our countries to continue collaborating closely to face the enormous health, economic and social challenge that COVID-19 has posed for humanity”, said Ambassador Shinjiro said.
The UNOPS Multi-Country Office Director said UNOPS has been working with Japan on a global scale, and it is a pleasure to engage in another initiative aimed at improving lives and the public health systems.
“It is an honor to once again be able to work alongside the Health authorities of Caribbean governments, and contribute from the United Nations System to the strategy for an effective response to the pandemic and an improvement of the national health systems; all while applying the highest standards in procurement within the approach of fair public management”, Rossi stated.
To date, and within the framework of a global alliance with UNOPS, the Government of Japan has contributed to other Latin American countries; such as Brazil, Costa Rica and Mexico; with significant contributions to expand their response to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic; supporting the achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 3 “Good Health and Well-Being” and the implementation of Fair Public Management.
Guyana’s Health Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony, in the statement, expressed profound gratitude to the Government and people of Japan for this generous donation which will aid in acquiring personal protective equipment and other medical supplies.
“This gesture is a great symbol of our solidarity and the value placed on our strategic partnership and robust diplomatic ties. With cases of COVID-19 spreading across the world and claiming thousands of lives and huge resources, doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers are on the frontlines of the pandemic as they care for critically ill patients. Facing enormous challenges, they are responding with courage, resolve and exemplary professionalism. Your donation is therefore extremely important to our cause and will definitely contribute to not only their protection but also their patients’ well-being, as they continue to provide the highest standard of care,” Minister Anthony said.
Belize Minister of Health & Wellness, Michel Chebat, in welcoming the move by the Japanese Government and the UNOPS, also expressed gratitude.
“The project’s importance is to strengthen our national response and collaborative partnership with the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and the Government of Japan. This alliance with the Government of Japan and Belize most certainly draws us closer and will strengthen our health system by providing much-needed Medical Equipment,” Minister Chebat said.
The Belizean Health Minister expressed confidence that the project will benefit communities through the provision of better healthcare for Belize, particularly during these difficult times of COVID-19.
“As the Minister of Health & Wellness, I remain thankful to Japan’s Ambassador and the Director of the UNOPS as they sign off today and formalize the agreement between UNOPS and the Government of Japan. The Government of Belize recognizes this union as a philanthropic ceremony being hosted today at the UNOPS headquarters in Costa Rica,” the Health Minister further added.
Dr. Amery Browne, Minister for Foreign and CARICOM Affairs of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and CARICOM Representative; Albert R. Ramdin, and Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Business and International Cooperation of the Republic of Suriname also spoke of the importance of boosting the healthcare system during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic even as they express gratitude to the Government of Japan.