Most of the island’s 25 hospitals have resumed full services, following the passage of Hurricane Sandy on October 24.
This was disclosed by Director of Emergency Disaster Management and Special Services in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Marion Bullock Ducasse, during an interview with JIS News, today (October 26), at the Bustamante Children’s Hospital, in Kingston.
“All but two of our hospitals are now offering full services. The Annotto Bay Hospital (in St. Mary), unfortunately, lost a section of the roof and therefore they are now only still seeing emergency cases. At the Port Antonio Hospital (in Portland), they are actually seeing emergency cases and doing outpatient clinics, but they are not offering elective services. So, we therefore have the other 23 hospitals that are offering full services now,” she said.
She informed that “as of today, all of the Ministry of Health facilities continue to offer services, though at varying levels.”
Dr. Bullock Ducasse further informed that at the Port Antonio Hospital, full service offerings should be resumed by next week. However, she was unable to give a specific timeline regarding the Antonno Bay Hospital, “because of the extent of the damage.”
Damage sustained at the Antonno Bay Hospital include: the loss of roof to sections of the hospital, including the male and female wards as well as to the accident and emergency, and paediatric wards. She is anticipating that the facility will be repaired within two weeks, “to the extent that we can move patients back into those wards and use those areas again.”
Dr. Bullock Ducasse said that while emergency services are being offered, members of the public are being encouraged to use the other facilities nearby, such as the Port Maria Hospital and the St. Ann’s Bay Hospital.
She also pointed out that staff turnout at the hospitals has improved, and that most persons were able to access the health facilities today.
Regarding the island’s health centres, Dr. Bullock Ducasse informed that in the Western Region (Trelawny, St. James, Hanover and Westmoreland), all the health centres are operational from today; and the same obtains for the Southern Region, comprising Clarendon, Manchester and St. Elizabeth.
She informed that for the South East Region, a few of the health centres “are not operational” in Kingston and St. Andrew; and in St. Catherine, the St. Jago Park Health Centre lost a section of the roof.
“The main challenges that were being experienced today, are in the worst affected parishes – St. Thomas, Portland, and St. Mary,” she said.
In the meantime, she said that all the relevant sectors and stakeholders are working assiduously to restore normal services.