Government took a major step on Wednesday to establish the long awaited Western Children and Adolescents Hospital, when Prime Minister Andrew Holness led a number of officials in breaking ground on the premises of the Cornwall Regional Hospital to commence construction of the US$ 43 million 220-bed seven-floor state-of-the-art complex.
The facility, which is a gift from the Chinese Government, is slated to be completed in May 2021,and will also feature a 60-room residential facility for health professionals from Western Jamaica. Cont’d on Page 2
It will offer specialist service to children up to 18 years.
Funding for the project is being provided under an Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement, which was signed on Thursday, October 18, at the offices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade.
In breaking ground under a tent (due to a heavy downpour),Mr. Holness said the new facility is expected to bring about an improvement in the quality of life of citizens,many of whom have been angered and frustrated by the level of service delivery now being offered at the Cornwall Regional Hospital.
“We are not running away from the problem; we are not hiding from the problem. People want to know they can express their frustration and anger – we are the custodians of the people’s power and we must use it on the people’s behalf,”he said.
PORTIA’S ROLE ACKNOWLEDGED
Prime Minister Holness gave credence to former Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller, who was a strident advocate for a children’s hospital and during her tenure,took action to make it possible when she travelled to China andforged an agreement with that government.
“She brought it a step closer when she visited China and placed it on the agenda as a project of cooperation between the people of Jamaica and the people of China, and the Government of China agreed, and that brought the project one step closer to fruition. So, I want to acknowledge her great effort and input in reaching to this point.”
Dr. Christopher Tufton, Minister of Health and Wellness, in welcoming the construction of the facility, acknowledged that it would be the first hospital to be built in the country in 20 years,and would serve more than 500-thousand residents in the western parishes of St. James, Hanover, Westmoreland and Trelawny.
“The Western Children and Adolescents Hospital is a significant indication of the commitment of our honourable Prime Minister and the administration to advance the improvement of public health infrastructure.”
Tian Qi, Chinese Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Jamaica,said the construction of the new hospital was a testament of the longstanding and significant relationship between China and Jamaica.
“For the past 47 years, we have been working together as true friends and real partners, helping each other bilaterally and in international affairs,” he said.
Ambassador Qi said he was happy as the facility would serve to greatly enhance the health care of Jamaican children.
The seven-storey facility will also have an in-house pharmacy, an emergency room, a dialysis room, and a food court.