February 15, 2017
By: Chad Bryan
Fifteen priority health facilities across the island are being assessed for inclusion in the Pan American Health Organization’s (PAHO) Smart Health Care Facilities Project, aimed at providing climate-smart, greener and safer health care facilities to the public.
Health Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, signed a commitment letter signalling Jamaica’s willingness to give full support to the project, which officially began in Jamaica last September.
The initiative is funded by the United Kingdom’s Department of International Development Fund (DFID) at a cost of £60 million (J$9.6 billion), and is being implemented by PAHO in collaboration with Health Ministries in the project countries.
These are: St. Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica, Jamaica, Guyana and Belize.
Among the countries that have already benefitted from the project are: George Town Hospital in St. Vincent and the Grenadines; Pogson Hospital in St. Kitts; Comfort Bay Senior Citizens Home in St. Lucia; and La Plaine Health Centre in Dominica.
PAHO Consultant, Keron Crossman-Johnson, in a recent interview with JIS News, said that improvements to the health centres locally will include the provision of rainwater harvesting systems, improved lighting and proper ventilation; and repairs to enable the facilities to operate more efficiently, and become more resilient to disasters.
Works will also be undertaken to improve the comfort of staff and patients, and systems put in place to enhance service delivery.
Mrs. Crossman-Johnson pointed out that the 15 health facilities initially selected will be further assessed by an independent PAHO team, along with Ministry of Health officials, to determine which ones will benefit under the project.
“The facilities for retrofitting have not yet been selected but there are criteria set out by PAHO that will be used to guide the selection process,” she said.