Tue | Feb 18, 2020

Outdated hospitals - Tufton asks for more ingenuity to improve technology in public health sector

Published:Tuesday | August 21, 2018 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin/Gleaner Writer
Dr Christopher Tufton (second left), minister of health, yesterday chats with (from left) Kwame Hall, vice-president of operations of Future Energy Corporation; Kenneth Benjamin, executive chairman of Guardsman Group and chairman of Bustamante Hospital for Children; and Karlene Taylor McKenzie, acting chief executive officer of Bustamante Hospital for Children. Occasion was the Guardsman Group of Companies presentation of a solarised system from proceeds of the Guardsman Games. The equipment is to provide energy to the Intensive Care Unit of the Bustamante Hospital for Children.

Failure to keep up-to-date with technology, coupled with poor maintenance of Jamaica's health facilities, were among the main contributing factors to the problems being faced in the country's health sector, noted Dr Christopher Tufton.

Speaking at the presentation ceremony for a solarised energy system to the Bustamante Hospital for Children yesterday, the health minister also stressed the importance of health facilities to being innovative in driving the energy needs of the sector.

"The idea of giving a technology-driven gift is also worth noting and is something in the public health system that we appreciate. Our public health infrastructure, frankly speaking, is lacking in keeping up with modern technology in order to benefit an advanced and more efficient approach to providing services," he said, while expressing gratitude to the Guardsman Group for the donation.

"The history of that is clear, and that is largely because we have not had the resources, but sometimes also we have not applied the innovation and the creativity to benefiting from some of the technology driven devices that are necessary. I would like to see all our hospitals and indeed our health centres utilise the solar power technology that exists in order to drive the energy needs of those institutions."


Explore alternatives


He said while they were trying to advance their technological output, he urged hospitals islandwide to feel free to explore alternative avenues to drive energy needs.

The minister also bemoaned the fact that more must be done to maintain Jamaica's health facilities.

"The other critical area is maintenance. We have demon-strated, frankly speaking, that we have done a poor job at maintaining our infrastructure. A lot of the challenges that we face today, Cornwall (Regional Hospital) being the most topical one, is as a direct result of poor maintenance of the infrastructure that we have," said Tufton.

Vice-president of operations at Future Energy Solutions, Kwame Hall, said the donation to the children's hospital is expected to result in savings of $28 million over the next 20 years.