Director of the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA), Errol Greene, says work is expected to resume on the $5.7-billion Western Children and Adolescents Hospital in St. James, in short order.
Work was halted on the 220-bed facility, which is being built on the grounds of the Cornwall Regional Hospital, due to the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
In an interview with JIS News, Mr. Greene indicated that efforts are now being made to recommence the construction of the children’s hospital, which is a gift from the People’s Republic of China.
“Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, it has setback the programme. The outbreak happened at a time when workers were expected to have come from China to start the construction in earnest,” said Mr. Greene.
“Now that the borders are open and movement can be accommodated between China and Jamaica, efforts are being made to get those workers here,” he added.
Mr. Green said that a small team of Chinese engineers and workforce are already here and are awaiting the bulk of the group to come to Jamaica. He pointed out that some of the materials and equipment needed for the construction are arriving in the island on schedule.
“The foundation [for the children’s hospital] was dug, a fair amount of equipment are already on site and there is a small team of Chinese workers on the site at the moment. So, as soon as the other workers arrive, then the construction will start,” he outlined.
He said once completed, the hospital will be equipped with the necessary modern technology to treat illnesses and cater to the health needs of persons from birth to 18 years old.
“From my perspective, it is very important because it’s a specialised hospital. We have no such facility in Jamaica. The closest to that is the Bustamante Hospital for Children, which treats from birth to age 12,” said Mr. Green.
“Also, it should alleviate some of the burden from Cornwall Regional, which caters to everybody from birth to old age,” he added.