Spain Supports Women Healthcare in Region


Women’s healthcare has been given a boost, with Tuesday’s (September 14) groundbreaking for the Queen Sophia of Spain Women’s Centre, at the Spanish Town Hospital, St. Catherine.
The centre is expected to improve access to care and broaden the range of services available to women in the communities served by the hospital.
The project involves the construction of a two-storey building linked to the existing maternity block, to provide colposcopy (a medical diagnostic procedure to examine the cervix and the tissues of the vagina and vulva), counselling and other services.
Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony, Minister of Health, Hon Rudyard Spencer, announced that construction of the centre is being funded by the Spanish Government, through the CARICOM Secretariat, at a cost of 338,000 Euros. The Spanish-Jamaican Foundation is responsible for general management of the project.
Noting that the construction of the centre was “an example of governments working together to meet their obligations to the world’s people”, Mr. Spencer said CARICOM nationals will also be served by the facility.
The Health Minister brought into focus the fact that the region is lagging behind in meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MGs), as they relate to maternal and infant mortality. He said that Jamaica’s maternal mortality rate has seen improvements, moving from 100,000 live births in 2000 to 78 per 100,000 live births in 2009, and that the centre would help to continue this trend.
He stated that assistance by skilled attendants, during labour and delivery, and the immediate post partum period (period immediately after childbirth) were some of the key areas of quality obstetric care, and thanked the Spanish Government for its contribution to this area of health in the region.
“It is well established that securing women’s health is vital to securing the health of the family, the wealth of the family and in addressing gender-based inequality in society,” Mr. Spencer said.
Also speaking at the ceremony, Chairman of the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA), Lyttleton Shirley, expressed the hope that the centre would improve the physical and mental health of women, as well as assist with the management of cervical cancer, locally.
“Cervical cancer, as you are aware, is the second most common cancer in women in Jamaica, as well as the leading cause of death among women in developing countries. There is no doubt in my mind that copolscopy services that will be offered at the centre will help to promote early detection and treatment of cervical cancer,” he said.
Spanish Ambassador to Jamaica His Excellency Jesus Silva, in explaining the rationale behind his government’s decision to spearhead building of the centre, said the project was in line with his country’s vision for women’s health and offered the “possibility of centralizing services for women”.

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