JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Residents of Christiana, Manchester and its environs now have the benefit of a new medical laboratory, which has been built in the town at a cost of over $20 million.
  • The facility’s establishment resulted from a collaboration involving the United States-based Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD), which have been supporting HIV treatment services administered at the Mandeville Comprehensive Health Centre since 2017.
  • The lab was formally opened on Friday (September 20) by Health and Wellness Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, who said the occasion was one to be celebrated.

Residents of Christiana, Manchester, and its environs now have the benefit of a new medical laboratory, which has been built in the town at a cost of over $20 million.

The facility’s establishment resulted from a collaboration involving the United States-based Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD), which have been supporting HIV treatment services administered at the Mandeville Comprehensive Health Centre since 2017.

The lab was formally opened on Friday (September 20) by Health and Wellness Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, who said the occasion was one to be celebrated.

“It symbolises the strength of the partnership that we enjoy and have enjoyed over an extended period of time between the people of Jamaica and the United States of America. That partnership is manifested, not just in public health, but in trade, tourism, and education… it’s an amazing partnership,” he said.

Dr. Tufton said the lab’s opening will serve to further strengthen the countries’ shared partnership and mutual interest in advancing public healthcare delivery.

“As a people, we are stronger when we work together. The focus is on HIV… although the lab will do several things. The reality is that HIV affects all of us, whether directly and indirectly, and we have [been seeing] more solutions to the challenge. We have seen significant progress around access and accessibility to counselling and medical care generally,” he further noted.

Meanwhile, United States Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Donald Tapia, welcomed the countries’ collaboration, particularly in public health service delivery.

“The idea for the lab was born two years ago, and we are pleased to see its completion today for the benefit of the Jamaican people and the different clinics that are in the parish. The lab will serve as a central hub for primary care in testing of HIV of all profiles available. It will also serve as a resource centre for over 30 health centres in Manchester,” he further said.

Meanwhile Ambassador Tapia congratulated the Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA), health professionals and other partners serving that region for their continued commitment to the community and thanked them for  their role in maintaining Jamaica’s collaboration with the USA.

“We look forward to our continued partnership as we work together to combat HIV to try to get a generation free of the disease, and eliminate the stigma associated,” he said.

Since January, some 18,000 persons have benefited from services resulting from the inputs of the CDC and NASTAAD.

These include tests for HIV and sickle groups, which have recorded turnaround times averaging two to three days.

The improved arrangements will also have a greater impact on Manchester Health Services’ operations by offering better value-added provisions such as the elimination of referrals, ease of travel, and better response to urgent cases.

Among the guests attending the opening were Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister and Member of Parliament for North East Manchester, where the lab is located, Hon. Audley Shaw; Custos Rotulorum for Manchester, Hon. Garfield Green; SRHA Chairman, Wayne Chen, and Regional Director, Michael Bent; and Director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Varough Deyde.