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A state-of-the-art High-Dependency Unit (HDU) for neonatal and maternal care has been opened at the Bustamante Hospital for Children.

The 4,359 square-foot facility, established at a cost of $315 million, provides specialised bed spaces for critically ill neonates.

It comprises 10 beds (including two isolation rooms), a nurses’ station, one sluice room, a breastfeeding area and a restroom.

It is the final of four HDUs to be successfully completed and opened across the country under the Programme for the Reduction of Maternal and Child Mortality (PROMAC), which is being funded by the European Union (EU).

The others are at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital, the St. Ann’s Bay Regional Hospital and the Spanish Town Hospital.

At the official opening ceremony on Tuesday (July 14), Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, said that the HDU will build capacity at the Bustamante Hospital to provide critical services for the nation’s children.

“It represents significant capacity addition. It is giving mother and child care in our country a significant boost. Indeed, it is filling a gap that had existed,” he noted.

Dr. Tufton said the establishment of the new facility is one of several measures being undertaken to improve paediatric and maternal care in the country.

“This country has seen a plan for paediatric and maternal care that encompasses not just this institution but other institutions,” he pointed out.

Head of the EU Delegation to Jamaica, Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska, said the EU is pleased to assist in strengthening the Jamaican public healthcare system to protect the country’s youngest citizens.

“This unit will provide high-quality specialised care for a section of the population, which is among the most vulnerable – sick children.

“We can all appreciate the worry and stress that parents and the entire family experience when a child is very sick. We hope that this unit will offer some comfort to the families of those who will require the services offered here, for it is well equipped and the staff are highly trained,” she noted.

Senior Medical Officer (SMO), Bustamante Hospital for Children, Dr. Michelle-Ann Richards Dawson, in highlighting the importance of the HDU said that “as a major referral centre we have to be able to accommodate patients who require specialised paediatric care”.

“It will build upon the work that has been done over the past few years to improve the outcomes for newborns and mothers,” she added.
PROMAC is aimed at reducing maternal and child mortality, in keeping with the Government of Jamaica’s own development goals.

The programme is being spearheaded by the Ministry of Health and Wellness with funding support of approximately €22 million under a Government of Jamaica- EU bilateral agreement.

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