Sat | Aug 18, 2018

Japan strengthens commitment to Jamaica with $9.4 million grant to Spanish Town Hospital

Published:Tuesday | January 16, 2018 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton with Japanese Ambassador to Jamaica Hiromasa Yamazaki at the grant signing ceremony between the Spanish Town Hospital and the Embassy of Japan yesterday, at the health ministry's New Kingston office.

The commitment to Jamaica's health needs is a core priority for the government of Japan, as it continues to strengthen already established linkages in the sector with a $9.4-million grant to the Spanish Town Hospital in St Catherine.

"I am pleased to note that the funds will be used to provide essential medical ultrasound equipment to ensure quality medical service for all valuable Jamaican citizens in and around Spanish Town," said Japanese Ambassador Hiromasa Yamazaki at the grant signing ceremony yesterday at the Ministry of Health's offices in New Kingston.

He noted that his government is firmly committed to ensure human security that focuses on protection and empowerment of people as the major focus of Japan's Official Development Assistance policy.

The grant forms part of Japan's Grassroots Human Security Grant programme, which last year November also provided the St Ann's Bay Hospital with $8.2 million for the acquisition of ultrasound machines.

"As the ambassador of Japan, expanding the Japan-Jamaica partnership is my top priority. Likewise, I am particularly pleased that we can also mark today as the continuation of the partnership between Japan and Jamaica under our 'J-J Partnership'," Yamazaki said.

HAPPY FOR ASSISTANCE

Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton said he was happy for the assistance.

The Grassroots programme was established in 2013. Since then, several grant initiatives have been undertaken, including the funding of the construction of the Low Vision Resource Center at the Jamaica Council for the Blind in 2013 to provide eye healthcare services at reasonable cost.

Also funded through the programme was the 2014 renovation and expansion of a one-floor clinic into a two-floor medical complex for vulnerable groups such as the Jamaica AIDS Support for Life.

The Spanish Town Hospital is the largest Type B facility in Jamaica built for a capacity of 277 beds. However, because of an increase in demand, the institution continues to be stretched beyond its capacity.

The patient load for 2016 shows the hospital seeing 39,299 accident and emergency patients, and conducting 4,459 surgeries. Approximately 26,139 X-rays were conducted at the facility last year, while it offered pharmaceutical service to 96,645 patients.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com