This was disclosed by Minister of Health, Dr. Christopher Tufton, during his contribution to the 2017/18 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives.
Dr. Tufton informed that the money, to be taken from the reserves of the National Health Fund (NHF), would not affect its viability, adding that the Fund has a surplus of $10 billion.
He said a government-commissioned KPMG study has concluded that with a withdrawal of up to $3.5 billion, that entity would be able to meet its obligation for up to 10 years “comfortably”.
“What is important is that we cannot continue to limp along with an ailing infrastructure and pretend that we are able to respond to the health challenges our people face. We have to do something, and we have to start now,” he emphasised.
The Minister noted that some of the projects to be undertaken over the next two years, starting immediately, include upgrading of the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH); technical scoping work to be done on the Spanish Town, St. Ann’s Bay and Mandeville hospitals, with a view to progressively upgrade these facilities from Type B to Type A; and technical and scoping work on the May Pen Hospital to upgrade it from Type C to Type B.
Other projects include the commissioning, by June this year, of the linear accelerator for cancer treatment at the CRH, and by the first quarter of 2017 a similar provision at St Joseph’s Hospital; construction of the Ministry of Health’s Corporate Headquarters via public-private partnership; start of construction of the Children and Adolescents Hospital in western Jamaica; and collaboration with the University Hospital of the West Indies to develop a Centre of Excellence, with specific focus on cardiology and neurology.
In the meantime, Dr. Tufton said the Ministry will complete and begin implementation of the 10-year Strategic Plan, which will restructure the organisational arrangement of public health to strengthen areas such as maintenance, project management, procurement and inventory control, as well as relook at the efficiency of the current Regional Health Authorities.
He also pointed out that the Ministry will expand the National Health Insurance Scheme under the NHF, focusing on stakeholder participation and the need for Jamaicans to take greater personal responsibility.
“Our current attitude to the public health administration needs to experience a paradigm shift. We must get our country to focus on prevention rather than cure – prevention in ensuring personal health and prevention to avoid the collapse of our health infrastructure,” the Minister said.
In the meantime, a total of $600 million will be spent to improve health institutions islandwide, Dr. Christopher Tufton.
The projects are critical to the efficient functioning of many of the island’s health institutions and include: procurement of two mental health buses at a cost of $12 million; upgrading of elevators at the National Chest, Kingston Public and Spanish Town hospitals at a cost of $39.7 million; completion of an isolation area at Spanish Town Hospital, $27 million; upgrading of the Kitson Town Health Centre, $69.5 million; procurement of critical equipment for hospitals in St. Ann, St. Mary and Portland, $50 million.
Other projects include roof repair at the May Pen Hospital, $50 million; repair to roof at the Mandeville Regional Hospital, $35 million; infrastructure and roof repairs to maternity/delivery area at the Chapelton Hospital, $15 million; completion of the outstanding project for the health information system at Black River Hospital and Darliston Centre of Excellece, $10 million; demolition of old structure at the Buff Bay Community Hospital/Health Centre, $6 million; and project development at St. Ann’s Bay Comprehensive Health Centre and expansion of St. Ann Health Department, $8 million.
- Countries: Jamaica