Feature
Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton (left), engages with Founder of the Push Start Foundation, Beverly Nichols (centre), and Member of Parliament for North Central Clarendon, Hon. Pearnel Charles, at the recent ceremony to break ground for the US$1-million renovation of the Chapelton Community Hospital in Clarendon. The project is being funded by the Push Start Foundation.
Photo: Yhomo Hutchinson

Story Highlights

  • Approximately 50,000 residents of several communities in northern Clarendon are to benefit from improved health services through the upgrading and expansion of the Chapelton Community Hospital.
  • Beverly Nichols, a native of the district of Blackwoods, who currently resides in the United States (US), is donating US$1 million for the project through her Push Start Foundation.
  • The one-year undertaking will include building a second ward, which will double bed capacity from 15 to 30; expansion of the waiting area; construction of a new operating theatre and laboratory; improvement to the water storage facility, among other works.

Approximately 50,000 residents of several communities in northern Clarendon are to benefit from improved health services through the upgrading and expansion of the Chapelton Community Hospital.

Beverly Nichols, a native of the district of Blackwoods, who currently resides in the United States (US), is donating US$1 million for the project through her Push Start Foundation.

The one-year undertaking will include building a second ward, which will double bed capacity from 15 to 30; expansion of the waiting area; construction of a new operating theatre and laboratory; improvement to the water storage facility, among other works.

Communities served by the hospital include Chapelton, Rock River, Mullett Hall, Summerfield, Crawl River, Pennants, Frankfield, and Crooked River.

At the recent breaking of ground for the project, Miss Nichols told JIS News that provision will be made for the ongoing maintenance of the hospital.

“My input to keep the hospital running will continue when I am no longer around. I am setting up an endowment to help in the long-term sustainability of this institution,” she said.

Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, expressed gratitude to Miss Nichols, stating that the Government fully appreciates “your act of kindness”.

He noted that by undertaking the project, Miss Nichols is delivering on a “selfless dream”, to expand access to healthcare for residents of the parish where she was born and raised.

He said that the hospital upgrading means “new ceilings, new walls, new flooring, and construction of four additional doctor’s offices,” adding that the benefits to citizens “will be great”.

“The concept of an endowment to continuously maintain the hospital… is forward-thinking. The future is bright because she is committed, also, to maintenance of the facility,” he added.

Nurse Mervis Anderson, who has worked at the Chapelton Community Hospital for more than two decades, said she is “overjoyed to see what is taking place at the hospital”.

She is urging users and staff to take care of the facility once the works have been completed, and help to make the hospital “a place of pride for Chapelton and surrounding communities”.

Medical Officer of Health for Clarendon, Dr. Kimberly Scarlett Campbell, for her part, said that the project will enable the delivery of first-class healthcare for thousands of residents, and reduce the need to refer patients to the nearby May Pen Hospital.

She noted that with the endowment fund the “the quality of service will be guaranteed for years to come”.

Manager of the Clarendon Health Services, Joseph Grant, told JIS News that the parish is receiving a “significant investment”, and the upgrading will enhance healthcare delivery.

Chairman of the Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA), Wayne Chen, for his part, hailed Miss Nichols as a “distinguished Jamaican”, who is firmly connected to her native land.

Founded in 2010, the Push Start Foundation is an American non-governmental entity dedicated to enhancing health and other services for the people of Jamaica.

Over the past 30 years, Miss Nichols, who operates a successful healthcare delivery agency in Queens, New York, has assisted Jamaican students through the provision of scholarships and bursaries, as well as funds for various health missions to the island.

In October 2018, she was conferred with the Order of Distinction (OD) in the rank of Officer for outstanding contribution to the Jamaican Diaspora in New York, adding to the Badge of Honour for Meritorious Service she received in 2011 for contribution to community development and healthcare.