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UN Office for Project Services takes charge of rehabilitation work at CRH

Published:Tuesday | May 16, 2017 | 12:20 AMChristopher Thomas
Cornwall Regional Hospital


A team from the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) is now at the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) in Montego Bay, St James, overseeing the rehabilitation work that is being done to restore the problem-plagued ventilation system, which has caused significant dislocation at the 400-bed Type A health facility.

In an interview with The Gleaner yesterday, Dr Ken-Garfield Douglas, regional director of the Western Regional Health Authority, confirmed that the UNOPS team arrived in the island last week and will be here for the next 10 months overseeing the rehabilitation exercise, working in collaboration with the Ministry of Health.

UNOPS is an operational arm of the United Nations that supports the successful implementation of its various partners' global peace building, humanitarian and development projects.

In mid-January, the operations at CRH all but came to a complete halt when noxious fumes from the ventilation system became unbearable, forcing the medical staff to vacate the hospital's first three floors. According to those affected by the fumes, it caused severe burning in the eyes and discomfort on the skin.

Based on tests carried out by the Ministry of Health and the Pan American Health Organization, it was discovered that the offensive fumes were the result of fibreglass particles from the ventilation system coming loose from efforts to clean the system, which was out of use for several years.

With regards to the rehabilitation work currently under way at the hospital, the fourth, fifth and sixth floors - which house the intensive-care unit and the operating theatres - are expected to be completed by next week. However, the replacement of the ventilation system for the facility's first three floors will not be completed until September 2018.

At present, many of the services provided by the hospital are being done from makeshift tents on the hospital's compound and from donated space at the nearby West Jamaica Conference Centre.