CHASE Fund finances equipment valued $35m to boost COVID-19 testing

CHASE Fund finances equipment valued $35m to boost COVID-19 testing

Thursday, April 09, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The CHASE Fund is funding the acquisition of additional testing equipment and supplies, valued at $35 million, for the National Influenza Centre (NIC) at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) to allow for more rapid and accurate coronavirus (COVID-19) testing of samples.

The NIC is Jamaica's only virus laboratory with the capacity to diagnose and isolate highly infectious viruses.

Consultant Microbiologist and Chair of the Infection Control and Prevention Committee at the UHWI, Dr Alison Nicholson, indicated that CHASE Fund's intervention would connect the technical expertise available in the department, with the much-needed resources required to meet the challenges of this pandemic.

Medical Chief of Staff and Consultant Neurosurgeon at the University Hospital of the West Indies, Dr Carl Bruce, noted that increased testing is key to determining accurate number of cases and will also help to determine the need for isolation of patients, where the patients are isolated and how the patients are managed.

“This will allow for the efficient utilization of the isolation and holding areas allowing for the rapid transfer of patients from the emergency division and intensive care negative pressure isolation rooms to the COVID-19 wards,” Dr Bruce said.

“It will also allow for stable positive patients to be managed at convalescent facilities or at home under supervision,” he added.

The CHASE Fund, which commits 20 per cent of available resources to the health sector annually, has also been assisting with the Ministry of Health and Wellness' public education for COVID-19.

“The fund has been approached for funding by several public entities since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis,” said Billy Heaven, CEO of the CHASE Fund.

“We have had extensive discussions with Ministry of Health and Wellness to align our assistance with the national objectives…the commitment to the NIC is in keeping with this general thrust.”

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