Wednesday 26 February, 2020

Ground broken for western children’s hospital in Montego Bay

Prime Minister Andrew Holness (file photo)

Prime Minister Andrew Holness (file photo)

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has expressed confidence that the construction of the US$43 million Western Children and Adolescents’ Hospital in Montego Bay, St James, will result in a jump in the nation's position on the Human Development Index.

On Wednesday, grounds were broken for the 220-bed children's and adolescents’ hospital on the compound of the Cornwall Regional Hospital.

"This hospital we are breaking ground for will move us two or three places up. Why? We will be able to accommodate 220 patients by bed count. Knowing how we operate, it probably will be more. But the bed count the hospital is built to accommodate is 220. I want to give you a practical insight (on) how this hospital is going to improve the quality of life of the citizens, and thereby be reflected in the human development Index," Holness stated.

 "The Human Development Index, Jamaica's score is 0.732, which places us in the high human development category. Particularly in areas of health, we are doing very well, which places us at 97 out of 189 countries ranked. Now I am not comfortable at 97; I think we can do much better, and I am confident minister, that in 10 years’ time we will jump 30 places or more."

Prime Minister Andrew Holness (fourth right) and other dignitaries participate in a symbolic ground breaking for the start of construction of the Western Children and Adolescents’ Hospital in Montego Bay on Wednesday. Others from left are: Montego Bay Mayor, Homer Davis; Opposition Spokesman on Health, Dr Morais Guy; National Security Minister and Member of Parliament (MP) for North West St James, Dr Horace Chang; Attorney General and MP for West Central St James, Marlene Malahoo-Forte; Chinese Ambassador to Jamaica, Tian Qi; Health and Wellness Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton; Head of the Pediatrics Department at the Cornwall Regional Hospital and wife of the mayor, Dr Carlene Grant-Davis; and MP for Central St James, Heroy Clarke.

Construction for the seven-floor hospital, which is a gift from the Chinese government, is expected to be completed within 16 months or up to two years.

Health and Wellness Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton, said the western children’s hospital "will add to the capability of the Bustamante Children's Hospital.

"This is only the start of the badly needed infrastructure build-out that is required to renew public health services in our country, and to provide what, frankly speaking, is a gap between the demands on the system and our capacity over the years to provide for those demands," Tufton stated.

Montego Bay Mayor, Homer Davis, expressed delight at the expected start of construction of the hospital.

He said the pending facility represents another major step for Montego Bay in becoming the healthiest city in the Caribbean.

“Today is a great day to be mayor of this wonderful city of Montego Bay… a city which is on the move to becoming not just the fastest developing city in the Caribbean, but the healthiest city in the region… The St James Municipal Corporation has been a keen supporter of this project from it was first mentioned over 45 years ago,” Davis said.

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