MONTEGO BAY: Jamaica is to benefit from some $2.5 billion in grant funding from the European Union (EU), to boost the delivery of maternal and paediatric health care in public health institutions islandwide.
Health Minister, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, who made the disclosure on Saturday (April 27), said the allocation is expected to further advance the government’s efforts to meet the United Nations (UN) Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for significant improvements in these two key areas.
Addressing the North East Regional Health Authority’s (NERHA) staff awards and fundraising dinner at the RIU Hotel in St. Ann, Dr. Ferguson the administration’s efforts to boost maternal and paediatric health care with the EU grant, will entail the establishment of six high dependency units for newly born babies, and five high dependency maternal units across the Ministry’s four Health Regions, over the next five years.
Dr. Ferguson also announced that approximately $186 million has been earmarked by the Ministry to repair and upgrade several public health institutions, under the purview of the North East Regional Health Authority (NERHA), this year. These institutions, he advised, are situated in St. Ann, St. Mary, and Portland.
Heading the list, the Minister informed, is the Claremont Health Centre in St. Ann for which $30 million has been earmarked to continue work to develop the institution into a Centre of Excellence. This, he pointed out, is in addition to an initial allocation of $25 million, made last year.
Dr. Ferguson said some $16 million will be allocated to rehabilitate the operating theatre at the Port Maria Hospital, in St. Mary, which, he advised, will also assigned a new ambulance, to be delivered in September.
The Minister further advised that another $9 million has been earmarked to commence work on the construction of a new health centre in Port Maria.
Dr. Ferguson, who lauded the efforts of stakeholders partnering with the Ministry to enhance the delivery of medical care in the country’s public health institutions, pointed out that: “if we continue on this path, there is no doubt in my mind that we will meet our objectives.”
By Garfield Angus, JIS Regional Office Reporter