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CDEMA’s Logistics Specialist Curtis Dennie (second right) in discussion with (from left) Acting CDEMA Executive Director Elizabeth Riley, Caribbean Development Bank President Dr William Warren Smith, and Barbados' Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy Kirk Humphrey during a visit to the warehouse which will be used for the storage, sorting and repacking of personal protective equipment supplies. (Photo: Sheena Forde-Craigg/BGIS)

CDB secures PPEs worth US$3 million on behalf of countries

CDEMA’s Logistics Specialist Curtis Dennie (second right) in discussion with (from left) Acting CDEMA Executive Director Elizabeth Riley, Caribbean Development Bank President Dr William Warren Smith, and Barbados' Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy Kirk Humphrey during a visit to the warehouse which will be used for the storage, sorting and repacking of personal protective equipment supplies. (Photo: Sheena Forde-Craigg/BGIS)

The Caribbean Development Bank procured critical personal protective equipment (PPE) for front-line medical workers in the Caribbean engaged directly in coronavirus (COVID-19) response efforts.

Yesterday, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) received the delivery of a majority of the US$3-million worth of PPE at the Port of Bridgetown — after securing the equipment with concessional resources through the CDB’s Special Development Fund.

Marking the arrival of the equity, CDB President Dr William Warren Smith underscored the regional bank’s commitment to helping its Borrowing Member Countries to cope with the effects of  COVID-19.

“The coming months are likely to be particularly challenging, given the uncertainties surrounding COVID-19. Helping our Borrowing Member Countries to build resilience against shocks like COVID-19 remains high on CDB’s development agenda,” he stated.

Included in the shipments are 35,000 protective suits, 111,000 isolation gowns, over 67,000 goggles, 250,000 protective gloves and 160,000 masks.

“Helping our Borrowing Member Countries to build resilience against shocks like COVID-19 remains high on CDB’s development agenda.”

— President of the Caribbean Development Bank Dr William Warren Smith

CDB also partnered with Crown Agents out of the United Kingdom to secure the equipment, which the latter sourced from providers in Germany and China.

The bank will now move to apportion the PPEs 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.

A health care worker dons her personal protective equipment.
(Photo: Caribbean Development Bank)

In light of competing national efforts to secure PPEs, CDB purchased the equipment on a pooled basis so that each beneficiary country could take advantage of economies of scale.

As such, the CDB said that cooperation between key regional partners was central to the process of sourcing and distributing the equipment in the face of the intense competition for PPE, once the global pandemic started severely affecting many countries.