Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Cornwall Regional getting great aid

Published:Tuesday | July 5, 2016 | 7:00 AMAdrian Frater
The Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay, St James.

WESTERN BUREAU:

Having lost an important revenue stream when the no-user-fee policy was introduced in 2008, the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH), western Jamaica's premier health-care facility, has become an institution heavily dependent on charitable support for its survival.

The 10-storey, 400-bed Montego Bay-based hospital, which is being negatively impacted by numerous problems, including a struggling Accident and Emergency Department, recently received a $16-million gift from Sagicor Foundation, the latest of the many such donations to the institution in recent times.

Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton, who was present for the handing over of the Sagicor contribution, stated during his keynote address that because of the tight fiscal situation facing the Government, the budget allocated to the health sector is only approximately 50 per cent of what is required, hence the importance of charitable support.

"We take this mandate seriously," said Rohan Miller, president and CEO of Sagicor Investments, in explaining his organisation's long-standing support for medical institutions like CRH. "Over the last 18 years, through the Sagicor Sigma Corporate Run, we have raised almost $200 million dollars for child-related charities and health-care institutions."

 

TRANSPARENT ABOUT DONATIONS

 

Based on the regular and consistent support CRH has been getting from overseas charities such as the United States-based Bridge For Life, the American Friends of Jamaica, Jamaicans Abroad Helping Jamaicans at Home, the United Kingdom-based Children's Investment Fund Foundation, and their local counterparts such as Scotiabank Jamaica and the We Care Foundation, there is no question that the hospital has been getting a substantial slice of the $3.5 billion in charity that comes to the local health sector annually.

The administration at CRH, which has managed to significantly boost its capacity to serve the west through the many charitable donations the institution has received, has had a long history of publicly admitting its sincere appreciation for the much-needed support.

Following a donation of $250,000 from the University of Technology (UTech) Western Campus Seminar Group last year, Anthony Smikle, the chief executive officer at CRH, said the money, which was earmarked to assist with the purchase of an illuminator for the Mammography Suite, satisfied a very important need.

"When the Radiography Unit is upgraded with the diagnostic machine, Cornwall Regional will be only the second hospital in the public sector and the first in the western region to offer mammography service," said an appreciative Smikle. "Having the mammography unit operational is very important, so we are grateful to the UTech Seminar Group and thank them on behalf of the management and the board."

With Cabinet recently approving a submission on charities that will make it easier for the public health system to accept charitable donations from local and international entities, CRH must be waiting with bated breathe for more charities to join their support base.

The recent $16-million gift from Sagicor Foundation will go towards the purchasing and retrofitting of the hospital's air-conditioning, ventilators, incubator, respirator humidifiers, suction machines and other equipment in the Special Care and Paediatric Unit at the hospital.

adrian.frater@leanerjm.com