MONTEGO BAY, February 22, 2018 - Jamaica's Health Ministry is in a quandry, as it continues its efforts to discover what is at the root of the troubles that continue to affect the Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay, St. James, that has been in a state of virtual shutdown for nearly a year.
Opposition spokesman on health Dr. Dayton Campbell wants the Ministry of Health to provide the public with a detailed explanation on whether it is unable to correct the air quality problem at Cornwall Regional Hospital, following complaints of the re-emergence of noxious fumes on three floors at the facility.
Nurses at Cornwall Regional have been complaining about an increase in the fumes over the last two weeks, even as the hospital is undergoing renovation to remove the causes of similar fumes.
The fumes are said to be causing illnesses among staff and patients.
Yesterday the Ministry dispatched a team to Cornwall Regional Hospital , in response to reports that despite the large scale repair and rehabilitation work now taking place at Cornwall Regional, many workers continue to complain about irritating fumes and ill-health.
President of the Nurses Association of Jamaica (NAJ), Carmen Johnson, said based on these new complaints, she is proposing that authorities look at the issue "from a wholesome perspective."
"What is it we want for Cornwall? How can we ensure that we are not over-exposing our employees to issues that will affect them in the next one year, two years and five years?" she questioned.
"Let us look at it and see how we move forward, because until you approach it wholesomely, Cornwall is going to be lingering with this malady," Johnson purported.
The NAJ president told the media that nurses have been complaining of muscle weakness, being unable to stand or move as they usually would, skin breakouts and hair loss.
"What I think is happening is when you have increased exposure to whatever the agent or allergen or whatever it is, you find out that is has reached a certain level within their system that it is even messing them up further and so you have a longer time of exposure with a greater frequency of being exposed to these contaminants," she explained.
The nurses are not the only ones complaining. The doctors are not at all happy with the conditions under which they have to work, as most of the requisite technical services have been relocated to various areas including the Savanna la Mar, Falmouth and Noel Holmes hospitals.
To compound the problem, patients are complaining bitterly about the disgraceful conditions they have to endure at the makeshift Accident and Emergency under the tents on the compound and there is no timeline as to when the works will be completed.
Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton, told a press conference in November that the timeline for the completion of the work being done at Cornwall Regional might have to be pushed back, due to unforeseen occurances.
Last June, Cabinet approved $1.3 billion to repair the facility, including central air-conditioning system during the 2017/18 fiscal year, with a projection for another $189-million allocation to the project in 2018/19.
Last modified onSaturday, 24 February 2018 07:51
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