Fix KPH, fix downtown
Medical group says expansion of health service and makeover of communities around two hospitals could drive planned rebirth
Erica Virtue, Senior Gleaner Writer
The expansion of the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) and the Victoria Jubilee Hospital (VJH), combined with improvements to the communities around the facilities, have been pointed to as the oxygen which could lead the proposed rebirth of downtown Kingston.
President of the Medical Association of Jamaica (MAJ), Dr Shane Alexis, says the two hospitals boast some of the best medical personnel in the island, but they have very little to work with, and an even worse environment in which to work.
"If you want to send a message to the most marginalised people in this country, you want to talk about crime, upliftment, then the Kingston Public Hospital and the Victoria Jubilee would be a wonderful place to start in terms of a rebirth of the city," declared Alexis.
He noted that the neighbouring hospitals are surrounded by some of the hardest communities in the country and serious investments are needed to move them forward.
"This is me speaking now, this is not the MAJ. Why don't we invest in whatever expansion that is needed, whatever machines ... I mean everybody agrees that the best place to go is actually downtown for your care - and then roll it out across the other parishes," explained Alexis.
For years, the Government has been keen to redevelop the city under its urban revival programme.
While some businesses have established modern offices and improvements have taken place in some areas, the section of west Kingston in the vicinity of the hospitals has seen little or no development.
The area has been the operating theatre for criminals with doctors and nurses not spared from the robbers who prey on persons on sections of North Street, West Street, and the many lanes around the area.
The infrastructure is also run-down with raw sewage in some areas, while a pipe behind the hospitals in Denham Town is where some community members wash, bathe, and get any potable water they need.