KINGSTON, Jamaica – Minister of Health and Wellness Dr. Christopher Tufton said Government has committed up to J$31.2 billion (US$201 million) to build out the public health infrastructure over the next three years – the most significant level of investment in hospital upgrades since Independence in 1962.
He said that the existing structures, built decades ago, cannot meet present demands, noting that the current environment demands a modern and technologically advanced infrastructure as well as the appropriate human and technical resources.
The plan includes construction and rehabilitation of 13 facilities, comprising 10 health centers and three hospitals – Spanish Town in St. Catherine; St Ann’s Bay, St. Ann; and May Pen in Clarendon – under the Health Systems Strengthening Program.
“This will ensure that the Jamaican healthcare system has the capacity to respond to a rapidly changing health environment, an ageing population, and high levels of non-communicable diseases (NCDs),” Minister Tufton said on Wednesday, noting that NCDs are responsible for over 70 per cent of all deaths in Jamaica.
The works will be undertaken through funding arrangements with local and international partners such as the National Health Fund (NHF), the European Union (EU), and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
At the Spanish Town Hospital, the planned upgrading will provide services including urology, oncology, cardiology, ophthalmology, and psychiatry to meet new and growing demands, Dr. Tufton said.
He noted that the St. Ann’s Bay Hospital is benefitting from a J$545 million (US$3.5 million) upgrade, while the May Pen Hospital will get a new building, which will include an outpatient facility with nine consultancy rooms, medical records department, staff area, and a service area.
Dr. Tufton also mentioned that a J$4.9 billion (US$31.6 million) upgrading of building and equipment at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) is in the design phase, and the built-out work continues at Cornwall Regional Hospital, and the Western Children and Adolescent Hospital in St. James.