Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, on Wednesday (July 7), broke ground for the construction of a multipurpose building at the Bustamante Hospital for Children in St. Andrew to house a paediatric cardiac ward and overnight parent suite.
The two-storey facility, to be built over the next two years at a cost of approximately $120 million, will be developed by the National Housing Trust (NHT) in partnership with the National Health Fund (NHF) and South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA).
It is part of the hospital’s multimillion-dollar redevelopment master plan, which includes a newly established Drug Serv Pharmacy built by the NHF at a cost of approximately $70 million, which the Prime Minister also officially opened on Wednesday.
The plan also entails expansion of ward space at the hospital to provide 100 additional beds.
Mr. Holness in his address, said implementation of the redevelopment masterplan will continue the revitalisation and upgrading of the hospital’s existing infrastructure which, he pointed out, has been significantly improved over time.
The Prime Minister said these upgrades include construction of a diagnostics services block, operating theatre suite, accident and emergency building, a specialist outpatient block, and a new cardiac wing.
Mr. Holness, who has portfolio responsibility for the NHT, thanked the entity for funding the construction of the paediatric cardiac ward and overnight parent suite, which will provide accommodation for persons, particularly those travelling over long distances to the hospital with their children.
He said that the redevelopment plan “fits in the broader context of national development”.
Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, in his remarks, said that the hospital’s redevelopment master plan is intended to adequately meet the heathcare needs of the country’s young people.
“The institution [is] the only specialist children’s hospital in the English-speaking Caribbean [and] is providing diagnostic, preventative, curative, and rehabilitative offerings. The intention, in this multimillion-dollar phased redevelopment plan, is to expand the services here,” he added.
NHT Chairman, Lennox Channer, said the agency welcomed the opportunity to be involved in developing the ward and suite, among other projects “that will bring meaningful change to the lives of Jamaicans”.
Meanwhile, NHF Board member, Nicole Ebanks, who represented Chief Executive Officer, Everton Anderson, noted that construction of the Drug Serv Pharmacy at the hospital “stands as a commitment to improving the delivery of pharmaceutical services offered to our clients”.
“Addressing the health and well-being of our children is more than a necessity… . It is indeed an obligation and we should seek to treat it as such,” she added.
Chairman of the hospital’s Management Committee, Kenneth Benjamin, and Opposition spokesman on finance and Member of Parliament for South East St. Andrew, where the hospital is located, Julian Robinson, welcomed the programmed engagements under the redevelopment master plan.
Source: JIS News
WRITTEN BY: DOUGLAS MCINTOSH