KINGSTON, Jamaica (Thursday, December 9, 2021) — Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Christopher Tufton, says the government has committed, up to $31.2 billion, to build out the public health infrastructure, over the next three years.
Speaking at an ‘Open House and Exhibition for the Rehabilitation of Jamaica’s Public Health Facilities’, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston, Wednesday, the Minister said that the level of investment is the most significant for hospital upgrading, since independence in 1962.
He pointed out 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.
“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),” the Minister said, noting that NCDs are responsible for over 70 percent of all deaths in Jamaica.
The plan includes construction and rehabilitation of 13 facilities, comprising 10 health centres 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.
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 disclosed.
He noted that the St. Ann’s Bay Hospital is benefitting from a $545 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 $4.9 billion upgrading of building and equipment at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) is in the design phase, and the build-out work continues at Cornwall Regional Hospital, and the Western Children and Adolescent Hospital in St. James.