Jamaica News, (JIS) – Work to transform five health centres across the island into greener, safer and climate-smart institutions under the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Smart Health Care Facilities Project, is slated to get under way in mid-2019.
The facilities are Stony Hill Health Centre in St. Andrew, Port Antonio Health Centre in St. Mary, St. Ann’s Bay Health Centre in St. Ann, Mandeville Health Centre in Manchester, and the Santa Cruz Health Centre in St. Elizabeth.
PAHO Principal Consultant and structural engineer on the project, Shalini Jagnarine, explained that the health centres will be retrofitted in order to enable them to operate more efficiently and become more resilient to natural and other disasters.
“We’re looking at the safety of the building. Our primary aim is to ensure that nothing happens to cost the life of staff or patients of the health centres. So we’re looking at seismic resilience, ensuring that the building doesn’t collapse or things do not topple over in an earthquake. We’re also looking at hurricane resilience, so that roof and windows do not blow off or the facilities flood,” she said.
“We’re going to try to do things like improve the ventilation on the inside of the facility, so it doesn’t feel so hot anymore and is easy for people to work in. We’re going to increase the electrical efficiency for the facility (such as) changing lighting and putting in LED bulbs, which will reduce the electricity bills (of the facilities),” Ms. Jagnarine added.
She said that new energy-saving faucets and toilets will also be installed.
The PAHO Consultant was speaking at a town hall at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Stony Hill, St. Andrew, on November 12 to sensitise residents about the plans to transform the Stony Hill Health Centre into a smart healthcare facility.
She explained that the Stony Hill Health Centre was selected under the project based on an assessment, which revealed that the institution was quite vulnerable to disasters.
GW Architects, led by Managing Director, Garfield Wood, has been contracted to provide technical support for the design and layout of the facilities. The entity has identified the need for increased water storage, upgraded electrical systems and new generators.
Funded by the United Kingdom’s Department of International Development Fund (DFID) at a cost of £60 million ($9.6 billion), the Smart Health Care Facilities Initiative, is being implemented by PAHO in collaboration with health ministries in selected countries across the Caribbean.
These are St. Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica, Jamaica, Guyana, and Belize.
Among the countries that have already benefited from the project are George Town Hospital in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Pogson Hospital in St. Kitts, Comfort Bay Senior Citizens Home in St. Lucia, and La Plaine Health Centre in Dominica.