JIS News

Work is underway to rehabilitate the Bellevue Hospital in Kingston, which was damaged during Hurricane Dean last August.
The rehabilitation project, which is being undertaken through a $34.3 million (350,000 Euro) grant from the European Union, was launched on (Jan. 22) by the Ministry of Health and Environment and the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) on the hospital grounds.
It is part of a six-month European Commission Humanitarian Aid Department (ECHO) project to “reduce the health risks after Hurricane Dean on the Most Affected Population in Jamaica”.
The works, which started on January 7, entails emergency repairs to the Villa Ward, Ward A, and Ward H Annex, including removing existing roof sheeting and some supporting timbers and reconstructing rafters, installing timber sarking and metal roof sheeting over a total area of 1300 m2. The buildings will also be painted; the porch floor patched; and damaged equipment replaced.
The project contractor is Alfrasure Structures and Roofing Limited while PAHO will oversee the works.Minister of Health and Environment, Rudyard Spencer, in his address at the launch, said that the rehabilitation works at the hospital “falls within the ambit of our quest to do more for those who can least do for themselves.”
“ECHO is to be commended for seeking to focus on those who are sometimes on the periphery of the socio-economic spaces and on the margins of the health policy and service delivery,” he said.
The Minister noted that the civil works being carried out “will improve the general aesthetics of the hospital, make the patients and staff more comfortable and improve the quality of service overall.”
Minister Spencer said that the facility, which is the only psychiatric hospital in the island, “has an outstanding record of excellent work in its field that has contributed much to academia, public policy and service delivery,” and asked that the work be completed on time and within budget.
Dr. Earnest Pate, Pan-American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) representative in Jamaica, said that the works being carried out will lessen the impact of future storms on the hospital. He noted that upon completion, “the hospital will be able to withstand hurricane force winds of up to a Category 4 storm.”
Dr. Pate thanked Head of Delegation of the European Commission in Jamaica, His Excellency Ambassador Marco Mazzocchi Alemanni, for the interest and commitment to improving conditions at the hospital, as well as the Ministry of Health, for its assistance in getting the project approved.
In his remarks, Ambassador Alemanni noted that he was “pleased to see that funds are being spent on such a deserving institution as it is the only one of its kind in Jamaica, and it is especially important to ensure its survival.” He gave the assurance that the EU and ECHO would be providing more assistance in the future.
As part of the ECHO project, vector control was undertaken at the hospital on August 30, 2007, with the aim of preventing post-disaster outbreaks of vector-borne diseases such as leptospirosis, dengue and malaria.
Bellevue Hospital is one of several hospitals that suffered severe damage during the passage of Hurricane Dean. The 1000-bed psychiatric hospital presently houses 807 patients. The rehabilitation project is expected to improve service delivery as well as safety and accommodation for both staff and patients.
The Bellevue rehabilitation works is one of three post Hurricane Dean projects in Jamaica totaling approximately $125 million (1.28 million Euros), being funded by ECHO.

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