Tue | Dec 12, 2017

St Ann's Bay Hospital receives grant funding from Japan

Published:Thursday | November 16, 2017 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke
Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton (second left); Japanese Ambassador to Jamaica Hiromasa Yamazaki (third left); Sancia Bennett Templer (left), permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health; Leo Garel (second right), chief executive officer, St Ann’s Bay Regional Hospital; and Pixley Irons, president of the St Ann’s Chamber of Commerce, displaying the cheque for US$67,566 from the Embassy of Japan.

The St Ann's Bay Regional Hospital, which serves nearly 360,000 persons per year, is to benefit from an $8.2-million grant contract being implemented under the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Programme of the government of Japan.

The signing took place at the health ministry's New Kingston offices yesterday between Japan's new Ambassador to Jamaica Hiromasa Yamazaki and Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton.

Yamazaki noted that the grant contract is the first collaboration between the Japanese Embassy and the St Ann's Bay Regional Hospital, adding that it was his hope that the new human security project would primarily serve the needs of every person under the hospital's reach.

"Going forward, the Embassy of Japan and JICA (Japan international Cooperation Agency), through our Official Development Assistance (ODA) programme, would like to objectively continue our pursuit in providing worthwhile contributions for Jamaica," he said.

"This will be done especially through our 'Kusanone' GGP non-refundable Grant Assistance Programme, JICA's training programmes, as well as technical cooperation programmes, such as the recently signed Energy Efficiency Management Programme, which will contribute positively towards the long-term sustainable development and socio-economic livelihoods of the Jamaican people," Yamazaki added.

Tufton noted Japan's continued assistance in the Jamaican context in the areas of agriculture and the energy sector, as well as grants and technical assistance programmes, reasoning that while the health ministry remained underfunded, it did well given the resources that are provided.

"We have our human development index profile suggesting that as a country, we do well, but we could do better if we were more empowered with infrastructure to support the human capacity," said Tufton.

He stated that the grant was timely as it would help to improve operational efficiency at the St Ann's bay Hospital.

"We want to express our appreciation to you and to the people and government of Japan for seeing the need, having got that expression of interest and following and delivering on that. We will be better for it, and that's an indication of your commitment to Jamaica," Tufton said.

Jamaica and Japan have had 50 years of positive, extended relations of development partnerships since diplomatic relations were established in 1964.

Ultrasound machine to boost delivery ratings

Dr Tanya Hamilton-Johnson, senior medical officer, has said that the obstetrics and gynaecology department of the St Ann's Bay Regional Hospital will benefit the most from the acquisition of the new machine through the grant.

"We actually do approximately 3,500 deliveries per year, and of that, about 750 Caesarean sections. So we do quite a lot, and we are number one in maternal mortality in Jamaica, so I speak with pleasure that this ultrasound machine will go to further us keeping that position for another 10 years."

St Ann's Bay Regional Hospital is a Type B 304-bed Acute General Hospital that receives referrals from as far away as Manchester, Clarendon, and Portland and 70 health centres, serving nearly 360,000 persons yearly.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com