A new 48-bed field hospital donated to the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) in St. Andrew, through a private sector-funded and coordinated initiative, was officially handed over on Thursday (September 30).
The $50-million isolation facility is equipped with sanitisation stations, sluice room and shower, donning and duffing areas, piped oxygen, air conditioning, Wi-Fi and video surveillance.
In his address at the handover ceremony, Health and Wellness Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, commended the donors for their support in the fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19), noting that the initiative exemplifies the importance of partnership.
“The partnership with the private sector is necessary and it is one that we embrace in government and in the public health space, particularly now. We can’t tackle and overcome this public-health threat alone. We have to work together,” Dr. Tufton emphasised.
For his part, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the UHWI, Kevin Allen, noted that the structure was erected in record time.
“We are very appreciative of the gift that has been given to us. It will serve the people of Jamaica well. It will serve our clinical team – our nurses and our doctors. It will provide a safe environment in which they will practise their craft,” he said, adding that the facility can be used for the treatment of COVID-19 and other ailments.
Mr. Allen said expansion of the facility, which is slated for a later date, will increase the bed capacity to 60.
Meanwhile, Field Hospital Project Chairman, Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), Gary Allen, said the plight of patients seeking treatment at the overcrowded facility inspired the project.
“Working together as private-sector entities, public-sector entities and a teaching institution can bring forward something that is great. We were all motivated to help our fellow citizens. We are honoured and blessed to have been part of this development to know that, together, we can make a difference,” he said.
Funding for the project was provided by several private-sector entities through the PSOJ.