JIS News

The severe weather condition associated with Hurricane Wilma, has caused major water damage to the Spanish Town Hospital in St. Catherine.
Affected at the hospital are the maternity and accident and emergency wards, which are now isolated due to flooding.
Speaking at an emergency meeting of the National Disaster Committee, held at Jamaica House today (Oct. 18), Dr. Marion Bullock-Ducasse, Senior Medical Officer (SMO) of Health, advised that persons seeking maternity care should go to the Victoria Jubilee Hospital in Kingston.
“The operating theatres for the maternity sections are flooded and we are not able to use those. If persons arrive at the Victoria Jubilee, we will have to try and manage,” she said.
Dr. Bullock-Ducasse, who is also Director of Special Projects and Emergency Management and Disaster Services, said the Ministry was currently working in conjunction with the National Works Agency (NWA) to pump the excess water from the hospital compound.”We have also had to relocate patients in a number of wards and compress everybody into a very small area,” she pointed out.
“Some definitive solution will need to be identified for the water that comes from the main road into the hospital and continue to cause this problem whenever there is heavy rain,” the Director added.
The Chapelton Hospital in Clarendon has also been affected. Dr. Bullock-Ducasse explained that it was inaccessible due to water, debris and fallen trees blocking the road leading to the hospital.
She noted that the outpatient department at the Kingston Public Hospital was flooded and closed, as also the emergency department at the Bellevue Hospital.
“We continue to monitor other hospitals. We do have flooding but in general in patient and emergency services are ongoing,” she pointed out.
The offices of the Ministry of Health located on King Street were not spared, as they were closed early today because of flooding. “We are going to be establishing an emergency operation centre at the Bustamante Hospital for Children,” she informed.
Patients in communities, she said, were being monitored, although the Ministry was unable to conduct airlifts in isolated areas because of the severe weather condition. “There are some in the Upper St. Andrew area, which we might have to get out of those areas today,” the Director said.
As for the condition of health centres, Dr. Bullock-Ducasse said that most of them tried to open. However, most in Clarendon, Manchester and St. Elizabeth were closed.
“We are asking patients to access the services if they have emergencies,” she said.
The Director also acknowledged that there were inadequate staffing at some of the health facilities, as persons were not able to get to work.
“In the Portmore area, where a lot of our staff for Kingston do come from, were not able to get to work. However, as is usual, those who are in place will remain there so that we can continue service delivery,” she assured.

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