Ground was broken on Thursday (July 30) to install a new standby generator at the Port Maria Hospital in St. Mary, to improve its electrical capacity.
The project, which is valued at approximately $25.5 million, is being undertaken through funding provided by the North East Regional Health Authority (NERHA) and is expected to last for 16 weeks.
In his address at the ceremony, Health and Wellness Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, said the project is part of the Government’s continued efforts to build capacity of public health institutions and provide universal access to quality public health services by all Jamaicans.
“Our mandate is to ensure that all persons can access quality healthcare services, whether you live in urban or rural areas. The people in communities all across Jamaica must have access to quality healthcare at all levels, so that wherever you are you can be guaranteed a [reasonable] standard of quality healthcare service,” he emphasised.
Citing the hospital’s strategic location between two major tourist areas – Ocho Rios and Port Antonio – and its close proximity to the north coast highway corridor and the Ian Fleming International Airport, Dr. Tufton said it is even more important that the hospital be properly equipped to facilitate medical emergencies that may arise in these areas.
Regional Technical Director, NERHA, Dr. Patrick Wheatle, said the move to install a new standby generator will provide fast, automatic delivery of emergency power in the event of electricity outage.
“It ensures that life-saving equipment is working during extended power outages, and facilitates continue operations within the facility in the event of power failure,” he pointed out.
Dr. Wheatle also noted that the upgraded electrical capacity will assist in maintaining a comfortable work environment for staff and patients at the facility, particularly during emergencies.
The Port Maria Hospital is a Type C facility with a bed capacity of 60. It serves some 125,000 persons from the parishes of St. Mary and St. Ann.
The hospital provides several critical services, including accident and emergency (stabilisation and transfer of trauma victims), maternal delivery and care, X-ray and laboratory services, dietary counselling, paediatric clinic, general medicine, minor operations and pharmacy services.