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Jamaica Receives $1 Million USD for COVID-19 Response

The United Nations Country Team in Jamaica has mobilized $1 Million USD for Jamaica’s COVID-19 Response.

Mariko Kagoshima, UN Resident Coordinator ad interim, today advised the Government of the donation from the United Nations COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund/ Multi-partner Trust Fund (MPTF).

For Jamaica, the MPTF is earmarked to cover two focus areas or Windows. The first Window, with a budget of $400,000, will provide direct support to the health sector and its effort to suppress the transmission of COVID-19 while continuing basic health services, such as maternal and newborn health among others. In the principle of leaving no one behind, the second Window, with a budget of $600,000, is expected to enhance social protection mechanisms such as the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) and other programmes which support vulnerable groups including women and children.

Upper-middle-income countries like Jamaica, despite being susceptible to geopolitical, economic and environmental shocks, do not generally qualify for funds like these. The island is among a small number of middle-income countries who will access this Fund. The Fund was developed from lessons learnt from the Ebola Crisis, where more people died from the economic break down and the disruption of basic health services than from the Ebola virus itself. The MPTF funding model is the UN’s commitment to a balanced response and recovery effort, which include ensuring basic health and social services continue.

The Fund contributes to financing the three objectives of the UN Secretary General’s Call for global action to stop the COVID-19 pandemic. It will:

1. Tackle the health emergency;

2. Focus on the social impact, and the economic response and recovery; and

3. Help countries recover better.

“We are proud that this UN Fund, has been made accessible to Jamaica. This pandemic has the potential for long-term adverse effects to the people of this country, as such the UN is happy to be playing its part in mitigating these risks to the people, while helping to sustain Jamaica’s development gains,” Kagoshima, said.

“The degree of impact of COVID-19 is almost always directly proportional to the various levels of inequity people experience. This is why, the second Window aims at adding value to Government’s social protection mechanisms, through immediate impact measures such as; food security, supporting livelihoods, meeting children’s food and educational needs as well as access to learning. Jamaica’s MPTF proposal was

developed in consultation with various government Ministries convened by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade,” Kagoshima added.

Within Window One, the health sector will benefit from technical and financial support towards the implementation of Jamaica’s national plan for combating COVID-19, the acquisition of essential equipment and supplies including personal protective equipment (PPEs), scaling up country-emergency operations centres and laboratories, contact tracing and case management, support to the healthcare workforce as well as strengthening the capacity of non-government and community-level organizations working in health – particularly those meeting the needs of the most vulnerable.

In addition, the second Window will see financial support to the poorest and most vulnerable households to mitigate social and economic risks of COVID-19. This includes families with children with disabilities, families with children under three years old, pregnant and lactating women and female-headed households in rural areas, to name a few.

The MPTF will also contribute to stabilizing the agricultural sector and keeping local markets and agricultural supply-chains functional, with particular support to female-headed small farms, protecting the livelihoods of rural women in female-headed households as well as providing technical support to develop innovations within the disaster programmes and social development/protection programmes of the Government.

Of note, is that civil society organizations as well as Government entities will access the Fund as implementing partners.

“This allocation is yet another excellent example of the United Nations and the multilateral system at work for Member States. We are grateful to the UN and its agencies which have rallied to support Jamaica in quick time. These funds will serve to address some of the most pressing and urgent socio-economic challenges we will have over the coming months, in particular, the protection and needs of the most vulnerable under the two approved projects,” Sen. The Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, Minster of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade said.

“COVID-19 will result in unprecedented socio-economic shock. The Fund’s assistance, we hope, will help cushion the blow to Jamaica’s economy as well as the people most vulnerable to economic hardship and social disruption. By protecting life and livelihood, the MPTF will help ensure that we leave no one behind,” Kagoshima said.

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