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Cornwall Regional Hospital prepares for Ebola

Featured Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay
Given its strategic role as the premier hospital in western Jamaica, the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) is being made ready in earnest to professionally handle any emergency associated with the deadly Ebola virus.

Additional facilities, including an isolation complex, a temporary holding area and a triage area, are under construction at a cost of $30 million.  Chairman of the CRH Management Committee and Deputy Chairman of the Board of the Western Regional Health Authority, Calvin G. Brown, said the isolation area should be ready for use within three weeks.

The CRH level of preparedness was examined today (October 29) by Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Fenton Ferguson during a tour. He said he was “very happy” at what he had seen but stressed that “the preparation for Ebola is a work in progress.”

Dr. Ferguson was also pleased that Cornwall Regional already has supplies of gear to be worn by health workers in the event they have to deal with an Ebola case, noting that “it will help in the building of confidence because persons want to know that you have gears in your hospital.”

He was satisfied that the isolation complex would maintain the level of sterility and infection-free area. It was stressed however, that while the spotlight was currently on the threat of Ebola, “it is going to be a permanent isolation area for any kind infectious disease that might enter our shore and require isolation at the highest level.”

The Health Minister also commended the Board and Management of CRH for the initiative of constructing a new triage area for the hospital’s Accident and Emergency Department, which, he noted, “in most instances have become like parking lots for clients.” This, he said, will allow for greater efficiency “and is a move in the right direction.”

CRH has established and Infection Control Team, headed by Dr. Barbara Grandison who guided the Minister and his team on tour of the facilities and presented the gear to be worn by health professionals in dealing with Ebola cases.

Dr. Ferguson said all other hospitals in the western region are required to have holding areas for any suspected case of Ebola but that only CRH would handle isolation.

We will continue to do everything at our borders to prevent any case of Ebola because whatever it is that we are doing in terms of preparation for a suspected case, that case would have to come through our border, whether airport, seaport, marina or fishing village.”

He disclosed that Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Derrick Kellier had been asked to assign Minister of State Luther Buchanan to work with health personnel in the respective parishes to sensitize persons in the fishing villages.

Also on tour with the Minister were Chief Executive Officer of CRH, Anthony Smikle; Acting Senior Medical Officer, Dr. Derrick Harvey; Acting Director of Nursing Services, Matron Gillian Legister; WRHA Board member Wayne Vacciana; member the Management Committee of CRH, Suzette Brown and other hospital personnel.

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