The South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) is reporting that the construction of the cardiac wing at the Bustamante Hospital for Children (BHC) in Kingston is far advanced and should be completed early next year.
The new wing is being built under a public-private partnership agreement between the Ministry of Health/SERHA, Chain of Hope UK, Digicel Jamaica, Sagicor Investments Limited, Gift of Life District 7020, the Caribbean Heart Menders, Congenital Heart Institute of Florida, and the Rotary Club of Downtown Kingston. Digicel Jamaica donated $100 million towards the construction of the facility, with a further $40 million from Sagicor Investments Limited. Chain of Hope has also donated $10 million towards the construction of the wing, which is in addition to equipping the facility, in collaboration with all other stakeholders, at a cost of some US$3-4 million.
The gesture by the organisations is something for which the SERHA boss is expressing gratitude.
"SERHA is extremely grateful to all our partners for the significant contributions they have made towards the establishment of this state-of-the-art facility," said Lyttleton Shirley, board chairman for the SERHA, which has responsibility for BHC. "The new cardiac wing will not only provide an increased number of paediatric Intensive Care Unit beds for the island, but it will also significantly decrease the number of children on the waiting list for surgery," he added.
Emma Scanlan, executive director of Chain of Hope UK, said her organisation was delighted to be not only a co-funder of the construction project, but also the lead trainer in creating a dedicated cardiac team at BHC.
"Chain of Hope is delighted to partner with Digicel, Sagicor, and the Shaggy Foundation as well as numerous other partners to create a world-class cardiac service for the Caribbean," Scanlan said.
Similarly, Barry O'Brien, chief executive officer (CEO) at Digicel Jamaica, said his company was happy that this important project that is geared at boosting access to world-class health care for young cardiac patients in Jamaica, was moving ahead. He said they were eager to see the project completed and the children beginning to get the kind of specialised cardiac care that they need.
The sentiments were echoed by Donovan Perkins, president and CEO of Sagicor Investments, who said the construction of this unit would enable many more children to gain access to critical cardiac care.
The cardiac wing will serve children between the ages of zero to 12 years old. It will be fitted with a modern Bi-Plane catheterisation laboratory, 10 intensive care unit beds, operating theatre, and equipment as well as support facilities.