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UHWI wants $114m more to overhaul systems after deadly bacterial outbreaks

Published:Tuesday | December 22, 2015 | 12:10 PM

THE UNIVERSITY Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) has said 80 per cent of the recommendations of a Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) review of operations of the neonatal unit have been implemented. However, it needs an additional $114 million to complete the remaining items.

At a press conference held yesterday, the hospital’s acting CEO, Kevin Allen, said the cost to implement the PAHO recommendations is approximately $154.1 million, $40 million of which has been secured from the Ministry of Health. The shortfall of $114 million is to be sought from corporate Jamaica.

The recommendations, made by PAHO after bacterial outbreaks at the neonatal unit at the hospital resulted in the deaths of seven babies, are being implemented by a task force that was set up by the board. The board is chaired by James Moss-Solomon, who was appointed after the resignation of the previous board in the wake of the bacterial outbreaks.

STRICT MEASURES IMPLEMENTED

Moss-Solomon, who was also present at the press conference, said all procedural matters have been reviewed and strict measures have been implemented under the supervision of the full medical and testing teams.

“The procedures are currently being extended to the entire hospital, and this will, among other things, speak to measures we will have to put in place to address public access to certain sensitive areas of the hospital, and the appropriate codes which will be enacted in keeping with best practices in medicine and optimum patient care,” he told journalists.

The hospital plans to erect signage explaining new rules regarding restricted access over the holidays. Visitors to the hospital will also be sensitised about the plans to protect patients and staff.

Meanwhile, Moss-Solomon indicated that he was not yet in a position to publicly disclose any findings relating to the medical investigations into the deaths of the babies.

“With regard to the death of the seven infants, I will be unable to discuss the individual findings of any medical investigations at this time, but will say that the hospital personnel are fully involved with the ongoing investigations with the public defender, and, at the appropriate time, the findings will be spoken to,” he said.

andre.poyser@gleanerjm.com