JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The expanded Haemodialysis Unit at the Cornwall Regional Hospital in St James, will be up and running by September.
  • The $38 million project is being funded by the National Health Fund (NHF). The contract for the works was signed almost a year ago.
  • The facility is “at a stage of practical completion” and all that is left is the installation of equipment and furniture, which should happen before September.

The expanded Haemodialysis Unit at the Cornwall Regional Hospital in St James, will be up and running by September.

The $38 million project is being funded by the National Health Fund (NHF). The contract for the works was signed almost a year ago.

Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, who toured the hospital on Friday, July 5, said the facility is “at a stage of practical completion” and all that is left is the installation of equipment and furniture, which should happen before September.

He is optimistic that when completed, the unit will allow for the creation of additional beds to increase the hospital’s overall bed count.

The Haemodialysis Unit is located on the hospital’s second floor, in space previously occupied by the Cornwall School of Nursing. It has benefited from expansion over the years to meet the increased demand for dialysis service, due to the rise in the prevalence of hypertension and diabetes among Jamaicans.

The unit has moved from five treatment stations in 1998, to 18 in 2013. The newly expanded facility will house some 27 dialysis stations, and will increase the treatment capacity from 123 on two shifts to 325 dialysis episodes for patients each week.

A 2007 World Bank commissioned study showed that the direct and indirect treatment of diabetes and high blood pressure was costing Jamaica US$461million per annum.

Diabetes, which is one of the main risk factors for kidney failure, is ranked as the leading cause of death among women and the third leading cause of death for men in Jamaica.

The Minister was accompanied on the tour by Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister on Special Assignment to the Ministry of Health, Hon. Luther Buchanan; ministry officials, members of the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA); and the Chief Executive Officer of Cornwall Regional, Anthony Smykle.