Jamaican Government spends $1.8 Billion on hospital upgrading

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Minister of Health, Horace Dalley, has said that in the last 12 months, the government has spent more than $1.8 billion on the construction and rehabilitation of public health facilities islandwide.

The majority of these funds were provided by the National Health Fund (NHF) through its Institutional Benefits program.

Mr. Dalley, who was making his contribution to the 2007/08 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday,(June 19), said that the upgrading effort is in keeping with initiatives by the government to modernize the country’s health care sector.

To this end, he pointed out that a sum of $720.9 million or approximately 64 per cent of approved grants were allocated to replace obsolete equipment with new medical equipment, at various health facilities across the island.

Among the items purchased were 40 new ambulances valued at $105.6 million; public health inspector equipment for $29.84 million; physiotherapy equipment at a cost of $12.17 million; while $10.95 million in supplies were acquired for the obstetric theatre at the Mandeville Regional Hospital; and autoclaves were purchased for the Princess Margaret Hospital at a cost of $3.5 million.

Additionally, $660 million was spent last year to purchase radiographic equipment, while other machinery is being installed. These include a 1.5 Telsa Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner for the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH); a 64-slice CT scanner for the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI); four ultrasound console units and 12 portable ultrasound units; and three digital fluoroscopic X-ray machines, one for KPH and another for UHWI.

In addition, two conventional fluoroscopic X-ray machines are also being installed; 11 radiographic X-ray machines; four mobile X-ray machines for the regional hospitals; and X-ray machines for the National Chest Hospital.

The Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay is also expected to receive a 40 slice scanner.
“This is the largest project ever undertaken in radiology in Jamaica. This project is geared at providing public hospitals with a total of 82 new pieces of radiology equipment over a three-year period,” Mr. Dalley stated.

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