Since the Government of Jamaica abolished user fees for children under 18 in 2007, the Bustamante Hospital for Children has seen an increase of 30 per cent patients visiting the accident and emergency department, and another 12 per cent increase in admissions.
“These figures are a clear indication of the frightening reality that there were parents who were previously unable to afford the minimal fees for treatment and care,” said the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Bustamante Hospital, Mrs. Beverley Needham.
She was addressing a fund-raising gala, held in Toronto, Canada, on November 27, to raise money for the Bustamante Hospital in Kingston, and the Princess Margaret Hospital located in Toronto, Canada. The event was a joint collaboration by ‘Friends’ of both hospitals.
Jamaica’s Consul General to Toronto, Mr. Seth George Ramocan (right), in conversation with the Chief Executive Officer of the Bustamante Hospital for Children, Mrs. Beverley Needham, at a fundraising gala for the Bustamante Hospital and the Princess Margaret Hospital, located in Toronto, Canada.
The CEO said that in order to respond to the growing demands on the services at the hospital, a multi-sectoral approach is required, which would include government, the private sector, the media, civil society, and non-governmental organisations like the ‘Friends’ of the Bustamante Children’s Hospital, in Canada.
Thanking the ‘Friends’, headed by Patrick Griffiths, for their support, Mrs. Needham said the Jamaican Diaspora has assisted and continue to provide support to the hospital.
“The ‘Friends’ of the hospital, in Canada, have been very instrumental in strengthening our ability to treat patients suffering from HIV/AIDS when we received a container of anti-retroviral drugs in 2007. We have also benefitted from furniture to furnish a ward which was previously unoccupied. That brought our active beds to 283, up from 253,” she said.
The hospital recently celebrated its 47th anniversary and the CEO noted that the institution has come a long way since it was established in 1963, offering only paediatric medicine and surgery. Today, the hospital offers a wide range of services in preventive, curative, rehabilitative and ambulatory services.
Jamaica’s Consul General to Toronto, Mr. Seth George Ramocan (right), and Chief Executive Officer of the Bustamante Hospital for Children, Mrs. Beverley Needham (left), with a member of the ‘Friends’ of the Bustamante Hospital in Canada, performer Ms. Letna Allen-Rowe (centre), at a fundraising gala for the Bustamante Hospital and the Princess Margaret Hospital, located in Toronto, Canada.
Jamaica’s Consul General to Toronto, Mr. Seth George Ramocan, thanked the ‘Friends’ of the Bustamante Hospital for their unstinting support and commitment to the hospital.
“It is always a challenge for institutions with such high demands to survive solely on funding from Government. Please be assured that the Government and people of Jamaica are deeply appreciative of your organisation’s role in enhancing the service provided by the Bustamante Hospital,” said Mr. Ramocan.