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  • Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal has applauded the staff of the Princess Margaret Hospital in Morant Bay, St. Thomas and the Ministry of Health for "resilience, professionalism and dedication" in maintaining the hospital during the last 50 years.
  • "You have been faced with more than your fair share of challenges and recent natural disasters have added to that but you have demonstrated a very strong character and persevering spirit and a deep commitment from all levels of the hospital in maintaining the services to the community," she said.
  • Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal (left) speaks with Natanya Blake of Port Morant Primary and Junior High who presented a bouquet to her during her visit to Princess Margaret Hospital.

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal has applauded the staff of the Princess Margaret Hospital in Morant Bay, St. Thomas and the Ministry of Health for “resilience, professionalism and dedication” in maintaining the hospital during the last 50 years.

“You have been faced with more than your fair share of challenges and recent natural disasters have added to that but you have demonstrated a very strong character and persevering spirit and a deep commitment from all levels of the hospital in maintaining the services to the community,” she said.

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal (left) speaks with Natanya Blake of Port Morant Primary and Junior High who presented a bouquet to her during her visit to Princess Margaret Hospital.

At right is Minister of Health, John Junor.

She recalled the damage done to the institution by Hurricane Ivan in September 2004 and in 1988 when its entire roof was destroyed by Hurricane Gilbert.

“But it is true to say that you have weathered the storms and remain true to the purpose for which the institution was established 50 years ago,” she said.

The Princess Royal was speaking at the 50th anniversary celebrations and rededication ceremony held today (February 26) on the lawns of the Princess Margaret Hospital.

The hospital was opened five decades ago by the late Princess Margaret. It was built after Hurricane Charlie ravaged the then Morant Bay Hospital in 1951.

Her Royal Highness also congratulated the hospital for its pioneering work in tubal ligation and other initiatives, especially in the area of mental health, which has led to the collaboration with the Bellevue Hospital for an outpatient psychiatric clinic.

Since its inception, the hospital had also participated in several outreach activities such as health fairs and clinics, she noted.

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal (centre) speaks with a patient of the Princess Magaret Hospital during a tour of the female ward. From left is Minister of Health, John Junor; Senior Medical Officer, Princess Magaret Hospital, Dr. Cecil Batchelor; Acting Matron Marjorie Howell, and Mayor of St. Thomas, Joan Spencer.

“My aunt, the late Princess Margaret would have been very pleased to see the remarkable strides that have been made by the hospital and its many allies in the preserving of health and life in Jamaica,” she added.

Despite the constraints faced in the health sector over the years, she pointed out, the Government had controlled many infectious diseases such as polio, malaria, typhoid, and indigenous cases of measles and rubella through preventative medicine, particularly vaccinations.

According to Her Royal Highness, the Jamaican government had not only facilitated the delivery of quality health care, but had also ensured “that all Jamaicans, particularly the more vulnerable can access the services, such as healthy lifestyles and through the National Health Fund the Jamaica Drugs for the Elderly Programme”.

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal (centre) speaks with nurse Sherfarine Shay-Fuller (right) during a tour of the children’s ward at the Princess Margaret Hospital.

Looking on is Dr. Fenton Ferguson (left), State Minister in the Ministry of Transport and Works.

“Delivery of and access to effective health care for all, is a challenge for all societies and all governments and we all need to learn from each other and the ways in which we deal with that successfully,” she added.

Following her speech, Her Royal Highness unveiled a plaque in observance of the hospital’s 50th anniversary and signed the visitors’ book. She was also presented with a bouquet by Natanya Blake, a student of Port Morant Primary and Junior High School in the parish.

Other speakers at the ceremony were the Minister of Health, John Junor, Dr. Cecil Batchelor, and Custos of St. Thomas, Marcia Bennett.

A cultural item entitled, “Wi Heritage” was performed by students of the Loving Hands Pre-Kindergarten and Preparatory School.

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