Wed | Nov 21, 2018

State-of-the-art cancer treatment centre for Kingston

Published:Saturday | February 6, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Minister of Health, Horace Dalley (fourth left), breaks ground for a state-of-the-art cancer treatment centre at the St. Joseph’s Hospital compound in Kingston on Thursday. Allso breaking ground are: Minister of Labour and Social Security, Dr. Fenton Ferguson (second left); Minister of State in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Julian Robinson (fourth right), and Board member, CHASE Fund, Joseph Matalon. Others (from third left) are: Executive Director of Jamaica Cancer Society, Yulit Gordon; Chief Executive Officer (CEO), National Health Fund (NHF), Everton Anderson; Chairman, National Health Fund, Sterling Soares; Chairman, South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA), Dr. Andrei Cooke.

A new state-of-the-art cancer treatment centre is to be built in Kingston within the next 12 months. The centre will be located on the grounds of the St. Joseph's Hospital.

Another such centre will be located at the Cornwall Regional Hospital in St. James, and is expected to be completed by mid year. Ground was broken for this centre in November last year.

The centres will be outfitted with linear accelerator (LINAC) machines, which are the most modern technology in radiotherapy treatment. They are being built at a cost of US$14.5 million, with the major funding partners being the National Health Fund (NHF), which donated US$10 million; Culture, Health, Arts Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund, US$3.5 million; and the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), US$1 million.

Speaking at the ground breaking ceremony at St. Joseph's Hospital, on Thursday, portfolio Minister Horace Dalley said the centres represent one of the "largest investments" by the government in the provision of equipment and service to the country's health sector.

Dalley also said that the centres form a crucial component of the government's health strategies that are being developed to tackle non-communicable diseases, such as cancer.

He said the facility will strengthen the country's cancer care systems and will enable Jamaicans from all walks of life, particularly the poor, to access high quality cancer treatment.

Dalley noted that in 2010, over 3,000 Jamaicans died from cancer, and that this represents 21 per cent of total deaths in the country.

"We as a government must ensure that we can minimise death as a result of the care that we offer and that is why we are here today," he said.

Other donors to the project are: Vincent HoSang Family Foundation, Jamaica Association of Administrative Professionals, and Lasco Distributors Limited.

Varian Medical Systems, a USA based company, is the contractor. They are one of only two companies in the world which manufacture Linear Accelerator machines and were awarded the contract by Cabinet on February 16, 2015.