Health Minister, Hon. Fenton Dr. Ferguson, has lauded the various charitable organisations and individuals, who continue to provide tangible support to the health sector, which he said, amounted to billions of dollars last year.
He named Food For the Poor in particular, which this week donated operating theatre lights, wheelchairs, stretchers, hospital beds and sofas for waiting areas, valued at over $16 million. He said the charity contributed $3.1 billion worth of equipment and medical supplies to the health sector in 2012.
“We have to commend our volunteers, both locally and internationally for the support they give to the country,” Dr. Ferguson stated.
He was speaking to JIS News at the Rainforest Seafood Festival held on Ash Wednesday, February 13, at the Catherine Hall Entertainment Centre in St. James.
The Minister hailed the staging of the event, organised by the We Care Foundation, to benefit the Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay.
He said the group of business people from western Jamaica, have been dedicating their time and effort towards the upgrading of the hospital.
“This festival is for a worthy cause. The Cornwall Regional Hospital will benefit significantly from this festival. I want to commend the We Care Foundation and Rainforest for coming up with the idea, moreso, to support the health care delivery system in Jamaica,” he stated.
Acting Chief Executive Officer of Cornwall Regional, Anthony Smikle, said the Foundation “has been quite instrumental in assisting the hospital with some of our needs, and we are grateful for this event.”
“Thanks to the organisers and the patrons for this support and the proceeds that will come to us,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the We Care Foundation, Adam Stewart, who is also Chief Executive Officer of Sandals International, said the group is seeking to raise about $30 million for the hospital this year.
He said the charity’s efforts to date have been focused on the paediatric ward, with some $10 million spent on renovations and outfitting of the ward last year.
“When we are through with the paediatric ward, we are moving on to the accident and emergency. So, we are taking it one step at a time,” he stated.
He thanked members of the public for supporting the fundraising festival, noting that the plan is to make it an annual event.