JIS News

The Government undertook the rehabilitation and upgrading of a number of medical facilities across the island, during its first year in office.
Work was undertaken on institutions that suffered damage in the wake of the passage of Hurricanes Ivan in September 2004, and Dean in August 2007, as well as others in need of routine rehabilitation and upgrading.
One of the institutions sustaining significant damage from Hurricane Dean, was the Bellevue Hospital in Kingston. The administration, through the Ministry of Health and Environment, was successful in securing a € 350,000 (approximately J$34.3 million) grant from the European Union (EU). This was part of a six-month European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) project, to “reduce the health risks, after Hurricane Dean, on the most affected population in Jamaica.”
Work, which started in January, entailed emergency repairs to the Villa Ward, Ward A, and Ward H Annex, including the removal of the existing roof, sheeting, and reconstruction of rafters; and installation of timber sarking and metal roof sheeting over a total area of 1300m2. The activities also entailed repainting of buildings; patching of the porch floor, and replacement of damaged equipment. Alfrasure Structures and Roofing Limited, was assigned contractors with the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), overseeing the work.
Minister of Health and Environment, Rudyard Spencer, in his address at the project’s launch, said that the rehabilitation works fell “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 would “improve the general aesthetics of the hospital, make the patients and staff more comfortable, and improve the quality of service overall.” He added that the facility “has an outstanding record of excellent work in its field, that has contributed much to academia, public policy, and service delivery.”
Meanwhile, residents of Spanish Town in St. Catherine and its environs will benefit from the expansion and renovation of facilities at the hospital serving the town. This, through a US$500,000 grant assistance from the Spanish Government, through the Spanish Agency for International Co-operation, which was initiated by the Spanish Embassy in Jamaica.
The funds were earmarked to, among other things, undertake the rehabilitation of the derelict out-patient building; establish the necessary infrastructure to facilitate an upper floor; and construct new rooms, nurses’ station, and physiotherapy ward.
Speaking at the launch earlier in the year, the hospital’s then Chief Executive Officer, David Dobson, in outlining details of the renovation, pointed out that following Hurricane Ivan, the roof of the building that housed the out-patient clinic, was severely damaged, forcing its abandonment. As such, another ward had to be utilised for that purpose, a situation he described as untenable.
“The aim of the project…is to rehabilitate that ward, primarily because we do not have adequate bed capacity for the number (of patients) that we are currently seeing,” he said, adding that it was proposed to upgrade the facility to a 32-bed ward.
He also expressed the hope that a learning centre would be housed atop the physiotherapy department, once funding is sourced, “so that members of staff can access their necessary credits and additional training from time to time, without having to be off the job for an extended period.”
Also speaking at the launch, Minister of Health and Environment, Rudyard Spencer, thanked the Spanish Embassy for spearheading the initiative.
Spanish Ambassador, Jesus Silva, said the project was important, as the hospital was the centre that provided an essential service to the residents of Spanish Town. He informed that the works should be completed between September and October of this year.
Work was also undertaken on the 50-bed Linstead Hospital in St. Catherine, while the operating theatre was slated to be upgraded at a cost of $3.6 million.
Meanwhile, a $50 million contract was awarded to Building Innovations Limited, to undertake improvement works at the May Pen Hospital in Clarendon. This entails structural works, as well as rectifying defects to the roof of the administrative block, and the male medical ward.