Health Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says a pre-construction technical assessment is being undertaken at the Spanish Town Hospital as part of plans to upgrade the Type B facility to a Type A.
“Upgrading from a (Type) B to an A means more services, more facilities, more beds and, as a consequence, being better able to respond to the needs of the community,” he said.
Dr. Tufton was speaking at the signing of a grant agreement between the Embassy of Japan and the St. Catherine-based hospital for $9.4 million (US$81,376) to procure an ultrasound machine, at the Ministry’s New Kingston offices on January 15.
It is expected that the assessment will examine all areas of the construction project to create an accurate picture of all requirements before actual construction begins.
Hospitals in Jamaica are classified as either Type A, B or C. As a Type B facility, there are restrictions in terms of specialist services the hospital provides. The upgrading will, therefore, enable the facility to better serve the wide range of cases from St. Catherine and neighbouring parishes.
Type A facilities provide comprehensive secondary and tertiary healthcare services and are the final referral points for public and private hospitals.
Dr. Tufton noted that the Japanese Government, under their Grassroots and Human Security Project, are “contributing to the critical area of equipment”, which is needed.
Meanwhile, the Minister is hoping that “before the end of the calendar year (and), if not, certainly early into the next financial year… we will break ground for the expansion of the Spanish Town Hospital”.
Dr. Tufton expressed gratitude to the Ambassador of Japan, His Excellency, Hiromasa Yamazaki, for the contribution his Government is making to the Spanish Town Hospital under the Grassroots and Human Security Project.
Under that project, a number of hospitals and organisations have benefited, including the St. Ann’s Bay Regional Hospital, which recently obtained an ultrasound machine. The Bustamante Hospital for Children also benefited from improved facilities and medical equipment in 2013/14.
He also noted that the St. Elizabeth Municipal Corporation, in 2015/16, benefited from three fire trucks and a water tank truck.
For her part, Parish Manager of the St. Catherine Health Services, Beverley Needham, says the donation by the Japanese Government will further strengthen efforts to improve healthcare delivery at the hospital.
“We are truly grateful that the Embassy of Japan chose the Spanish Town Hospital to benefit from this much-needed intervention,” she said.
For his part, Mr. Yamazaki said the grant represents a commitment to assist Jamaica to meet its health needs.
“We are willing to work further with the Government of Jamaica, as well as each hospital like Spanish Town and St. Ann’s Bay as well as others,” he said.
The Ambassador said that expanding the Japan-Jamaica partnership is his top priority, and that the handover of the grant funds marks the continuation of that relationship.
“A stronger bridge is being developed with Jamaica in our quest to support the development endeavours of this progressive country in the critical areas of education, energy, disaster risk management, climate change and health,” he said.
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