Prime Minister Simpson Miller said that Jamaica was more than a name and a brand, but was about people, when she called on the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) to proceed with plans to advance services at the Spanish Town Hospital.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Queen Sofia of Spain Women's Centre at the Spanish Town Hospital, Mrs. Simpson Miller urged the Ministry to provide excellent facilities for the people of Jamaica.
"The Spanish Town Hospital is now geared to be upgraded to a Type "A" hospital. You notice I am giving instruction here to the Minister and the Chairman. We need to have our hospitals as centres of excellence serving the Jamaican people. Jamaica is more than a name, it is more than a brand, it is the pride of a people," Mrs Simpson Miller said.
The women's centre was donated by the Kingdom of Spain through the Spanish Agency for International Development (CEDA) for a sum equivalent to $30 million. It will offer a comprehensive range of services, including colposcopy services for detection and management of cervical cancer, which is a major cause of death in Jamaican women. The facility is seen as a boost as 68% of the clients of the hospital are women, and the hospital's maternity ward delivers the second highest number of babies in Jamaica behind the Victoria Jubilee Hospital.
In her remarks, the Ambassador of Spain, Celsa Nuno, said that while Spain promotes gender equality in foreign policy, it recognises that women are a vulnerable sector in the society often subject to inequalities and discrimination.
"By contributing to women empowerment, we believe that we contribute to overcoming societal challenges caused by poverty, as women are the most powerful agents for social change," the Ambassador said.
The centre is the latest investment by Spanish organisations in Jamaica. In 2009, the hospital opened the King of Spain ward which was also built and outfitted with support from the CEDA. The total contribution from Spain to the Spanish Town Hospital stands at $84 million.
Contact: Communications Unit-OPM