The Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre (formerly the Mona Rehabilitation Centre) is a 70 bed hospital which was started in 1954 during the polio epidemic. The centre, which was founded by Sir John Golding, a British orthopaedic surgeon, served as the only centre in Jamaica and the English speaking Caribbean which catered to the rehabilitation of patients afflicted with polio.
He played a vital role in treating patients when Jamaica was plagued by the polio epidemic, having several years of experience working in the Orthopaedics field. About 1,500 persons were severely paralysed. Sir John decided that he simply could not treat the patients’ limbs and return to England. He realised that there would be a host of disabled persons in the society with little hope of becoming “normal” again. With this on his mind, he decided to stay and help rehabilitate persons back into a meaningful role in the society. Soon he began organising a polio rehabilitation centre later named the Mona Rehabilitation Centre.
The 70-bed facility was later named in his honour following his death in 1996. With the eradication of polio the centre also began treating patients with spinal cord injuries due mainly to motor vehicle accidents. Stroke victims and children with congenital limb weakness/deformities are also treated at the centre. Lower limb prostheses are fabricated at the centre and enable amputees to walk again. The goal of rehabilitation is to make the patient as independent as possible within the limits of the disability.
The centre takes a multidisciplinary approach to the rehabilitation and treats patients of all ages. The children at the centre are integrated into schools and do reasonably well. The patients also participate in sports which form part of rehabilitation and the Jamaica Para-Olympic Association which started in 1966. They have won more Olympic medals than their able bodied counterparts.
We believe that individuals with physical disabilities:
- Have potential for improvement to various levels of usefulness. Their conditions are best described as having physical alteration of body function.
- Are capable of becoming productive, self sufficient, and useful members of society.
- Need family support, access to specialist rehabilitative health care and society acceptance and recognition to enhance a successful rehabilitation process.
- When rehabilitated, it should help to form an integral part of a modern society.