Health Ministry Secures $25.5 Million for Critical Repairs


The Ministry of Health has secured a grant of $25.5 million from the Culture, Health, Arts, Sport and Education (CHASE) Fund to undertake critical repairs to health facilities, which were damaged during Hurricane Ivan.
The allocation brings to $211 million, the total secured for repairs to the health sector, and takes the Ministry closer to its target of $232 million.
The grant will be used primarily for the rehabilitation of the Annotto Bay Hospital in St. Mary, which was severely damaged during the hurricane.
Minister Junor, who received the funds at CHASE’s headquarters in New Kingston recently, expressed gratitude for the donation and appealed to the wider community to continue to assist the recovery effort. “I encourage those, who have not jumped on board to do so. There is still a lot to be done in the wake of the hurricane,” he stated.
Of the island’s 24 hospitals, 21 or 88 per cent suffered damage, with Annotto Bay, Black River and Percy Junor Hospitals being the most severely affected. The rehabilitation of these institutions is projected at $50 million.
Meanwhile, Mr. Junor disclosed that the National Health Fund would be providing some $118 million to undertake repairs at seven hospitals, which were not yet back in full service. The Black River and Percy Junior Hospitals are expected to benefit from this effort.
As it pertains to the 128 health centres, which suffered damage, 11 still remain closed. A grant of $93 million from the United States Agency for International Development, will be dedicated to these facilities.
Meanwhile, the health sector has benefited from the donation of three generators by telecommunications giant Cable and Wireless and Capital & Credit Merchant Bank. The equipment were handed over to the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) on Slipe Pen Road, the Kiwanis Blood Collection Centre at the National Chest Hospital and the Sir John Golding Centre.
Millions of dollars in equipment and supplies have also been received from overseas donors in the post Hurricane Ivan period.
Minister Junor also took the opportunity to laud CHASE for its efforts to facilitate medical research. He cited the approval of $3.6 million to enable research on the impact of early life experiences on cardiovascular risk in adolescents in Jamaica. The study, which is being undertaken by Dr. Rainford Wilks, senior researcher in cardiovascular epidemiology, was critical in planning for the health sector in terms of dealing with chronic non-communicable conditions, the Minister said.
In keeping with its mandate, CHASE this year, supported a number of projects in the health sector, including: providing $2 million for the violence prevention in schools and inner cities programmes facilitated by Cornerstone Ministries; $10.3 million for medical equipment for new operating theatres and the intensive care unit at the University Hospital of the West Indies and $600,000 for 36 HIV/AIDS workshops by the Family and Parenting Centre in St. James.
In addition, CHASE provided $5.8 million in financing to three projects in the areas of arts and culture. These are: the Jamaica Homecoming Foundation, St. Elizabeth Homecoming Festival and ‘Mikey’, Jamaica’s first Reggae opera, to be written and composed by author Professor Mervyn Morris and musician Peter Ashbourne.
To date, the two year-old Fund has received $1.2 billion from the lottery companies and have approved projects valued just under a $1 billion in the areas of sports, education, health, arts and culture. Over $655 million have already been disbursed.

JIS Social