BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — The Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) says it remains committed to acquiring critically needed personal protective equipment (PPE) for regional front line workers combating the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) that has infected thousands of people and killed more than 120 in the Caribbean.
“The coming months are likely to be particularly challenging, given the uncertainties surrounding COVID-19. Helping our borrowing member countries (BMC) to build resilience against shocks like COVID-19 remains high on CDB’s development agenda,” said President, Dr Wm Warren Smith.
Smith was speaking at a ceremony where, together with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), took delivery of the majority of three million US dollars worth of PPE at the Port of Bridgetown
The CDB procured and purchased the equipment with concessional resources through its Special Development Fund.
Acting CDEMA executive director, Elizabeth Riley said the regional agency has moved to establish the regional hub that will be used to distribute the PPE to 13 other Caribbean countries.
“To support our participating states, CDEMA has established an integrated regional logistics hub in Barbados, which serves as a primary repository and transhipment point for COVID-19 related relief supplies and aids the coordination of humanitarian logistics. This critical and timely support from the Caribbean Development Bank will strengthen the capacity of our participating states in times of greatest need,” said Riley.
A CDB statement said that cooperation between key regional partners was central to being able to source and distribute the equipment in the face of the intense competition for PPE, once the global pandemic started severely affecting many countries.
It said that in light of such competition, CDB purchased the equipment on a pooled basis so that each beneficiary country could take advantage of economies of scale.
The shipments include 35,000 protective suits, 111,000 isolation gowns, over 67,000 goggles, 250,000 protective gloves and 160,000 masks.
CDB also partnered with Crown Agents out of the United Kingdom to secure the equipment, which was sourced from providers in Germany and China.
The PPE will go to Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.