(Jamaica Observer) The governments of Jamaica and China on Monday signed an agreement for the construction of a 220-bed hospital for children in Montego Bay, St James.
The facility will be the first to be constructed in the island since the May Pen Hospital was built in the 1970s and will provide increased access to paediatric treatment and care.
Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton said the hospital will bring additional beds to the nation’s health system.
“When I visited the Bustamante Hospital for Children earlier I was told that they needed at least another 100 beds to satisfy the [demand]. The fact that we’re building a 220-bed facility says to me that we’re able to now deal fairly adequately with the demands of childcare,” he said.
He noted that the new facility will enable Jamaica to meet the targets under the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, particularly as they relate to the health status of the nation’s children.
Dr Tufton was speaking at the signing of letters of exchange ceremony for the project at the foreign affairs and foreign trade ministry in New Kingston.
He said that following completion of the new hospital, families will be able to access specialised care for children under 12 years of age and adolescents closer to their communities. The project, he said, will also enhance the nation’s tourism product.
Approval is being awaited for lands adjacent to Cornwall Regional Hospital where the new health facility will be built.