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Residents of the old capital and its environs are to benefit from expanded and renovated facilities at the Spanish Town Hospital, in less than a year, through grant assistance of US$500,000 by the Government of Spain, through the Spanish Agency for International Co-operation.
The funds will be used to undertake the construction of new rooms, a nurses’ station, and a physiotherapy ward.
Speaking at the official launch of the project at the Spanish Embassy’s New Kingston offices today (February 27), Minister of Health and Environment, Rudyard Spencer thanked the Spanish Embassy for spearheading the initiative.
“This is a true manifestation of the partnership that we intend to take forward. Spanish Town more than anywhere else, is deserving of this kind of renovation at this time. We look forward to many more such interventions, given the large contingent of businesses that the Spanish are doing in Jamaica,” he said.
Spanish Ambassador, Jesus Silva said the project is an important one, as the hospital is the centre that provides the most essential service to the people of Spanish Town. He informed that the works should be completed between September and October of this year. “In this effort of trying to assist, we have also found some Jamaican partners. We found committed Jamaican business people who are working with the Spanish investors, and when we spoke about this project, they immediately wanted to come on board and help,” he noted.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the hospital, David Dobson said the work is important at this time, because the hospital serves a population that is regarded as the fastest growing in Jamaica today. “As a result of that, you find that the demand on our resources is continuously growing and we are not able to keep apace, so this intervention will certainly put a dent in that gap, and we hope to improve the services that we provide,” he told the gathering.Outlining details of the renovation, Mr. Dobson pointed out that after Hurricane Ivan in 2004, the roof of the building that housed the out-patient clinic, was severely damaged, forcing its abandonment. Another ward has since been utilized for out-patient care. “That has been an untenable situation since that time, and the aim of the project now is to rehabilitate that ward, primarily because we do not have adequate bed capacity for the number (of patients) that we are currently seeing,” he said. The aim is to improve this facility to a 32-bed ward.Under the project, the now derelict out-patient building will be rehabilitated as the physiotherapy department. The roof of both buildings will be lifted and replaced with slab, and the necessary infrastructure established to facilitate an upper floor.
Atop the physiotherapy department, Mr. Dobson said, it is hoped that a learning centre will be housed, once funding is sourced, “so that members of staff can access their necessary credits and additional training from time to time, without having to be off the job for an extended period.”
Meanwhile, Mayor of Spanish Town, Dr. Andrew Wheatley said he was pleased with the new thrust and interest being shown in the town, including the assistance provided by the Spanish Government.