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The downtown Kingston-based Victoria Jubilee Hospital (VJH) now boasts a state-of-the-art High-Dependency Unit (HDU) as well as a refurbished space for neonatal and maternal care.

The project was completed under the Programme for the Reduction of Maternal and Child Mortality (PROMAC), which is being spearheaded by the Ministry of Health and Wellness with funding support of approximately €22 million under a Government of Jamaica (GOJ)-European Union (EU) bilateral agreement.

PROMAC is aimed at reducing maternal and child mortality, in keeping with the Government of Jamaica’s own development goals.

The new six-bed maternal HDU at VJH, which includes an operating theatre and isolation suite, will increase the hospital’s capacity to care for critically ill patients, who are usually transferred from other hospitals across the island.

In addition, the neonatal facility had been expanded to accommodate four high-dependency beds, creation of isolation suites to facilitate up to 16 premature babies at one time who need respiratory support, as well as the refurbishment of space for a 24-bed general nursery.

At the official opening ceremony on Wednesday (June 24), Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, said that the HDU and neonatal unit will improve the quality of care for thousands of critically ill neonates and high-risk pregnant women.

He urged all that will use the facilities at VJH and the others provided at hospitals across the island to take care of them.

“The beneficiaries – the people who use the infrastructure; our mothers and potential mothers – need to recognise the importance of following the procedures, the protocols, the appropriate approach both in their lifestyle, as well as in terms of accessing the facilities that we have at an institution like this,” Dr. Tufton said.

He thanked the EU for its commitment towards the development of Jamaica through PROMAC.

“I want to again place on record, the appreciation of the Jamaican people, the Jamaican Government to the EU for this PROMAC programme, which started in 2013, but we have delivered on the work that was started by others,” he said.

For her part, Head of the EU Delegation to Jamaica, Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska, said the organisation is pleased to deliver to the Government and people of Jamaica a facility that will help to ensure that all women with high-risk pregnancies, who need high quality healthcare and lifesaving equipment, will be able to receive those services.

“I also want to acknowledge the important role this hospital (the VJH) plays in delivering maternity and childcare, as well as gynaecological and reproductive health services to pregnant women from across Jamaica over the years,” Ambassador Wasilewska said.

“It is clear that Jamaicans hold this hospital in high esteem, and the EU is happy to… have facilitated expansion of the neonatal facilities,” she added.

VJH is among four hospitals to benefit from an HDU under PROMAC. A facility opened at the St Ann’s Bay Hospital in St. Ann on June 5, and work is under way at Spanish Town, St. Catherine, and the Bustamante Hospital for Children, St. Andrew.

All the HDUs will be equipped with cutting-edge technologies to improve newborn and emergency obstetric care.

PROMAC has also provided training of more than 200 medical personnel and 1,000 primary healthcare workers to improve the quality management of high-risk pregnancies.

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