Uninhabitable for more than 16 years, significantly inconveniencing patients visiting the remote Port Maria Hospital, The Sandals Foundation has pumped almost $3.5 million into reopening the senior medical officer residency at the rural medical facility.
The foundation has completely renovated the residence, which had fallen into disrepair, making it possible for doctors, senior medical officers, volunteers, and visiting doctors to stay overnight at the hospital.
The gift, accepted by the Northern Regional Health Authority (NERHA) days ahead of Jamaica’s 56th Independence Day celebrations, is a reaffirmation of The Sandals Foundation’s commitment to supporting Jamaica’s public-health sector, according to its Executive Director Heidi Clarke.
“Supporting primary healthcare institutions to provide the best care to residents across the region is among the core attention areas of the Sandals Foundation,” she stated during the handover ceremony last Friday in Port Maria.
Clarke noted that access to basic healthcare was a fundamental need for all residents, and the foundation was excited by the possibilities to assist in this regard.
“We are happy to partner with the Ministry of Health to support our talented doctors and nurses at this hospital. This project is in perfect alignment with one of the foundation’s main pillars of focus, which is to support community and health-based initiatives that will undoubtedly make a difference in the lives of members of the community,” she said.
The renovations included the complete gutting of the residence, electrical work, plumbing, new ceilings, a refurbished kitchen and bathrooms, grilling, construction of cupboards, and the painting of the interior and exterior of building.
A gracious NERHA regional director, Fabia Lamm, described the foundation’s latest initiative as a reflection of the organisation’s commitment and corporate social responsibility, while assisting the region in enhancing the public healthcare system in Jamaica.
Lamm said this was a partnership that was helping to provide quality healthcare to many stakeholders.
The Port Maria Hospital was one of two major projects handed over to NERHA by the foundation on Friday.
The organisation also donated medical equipment to the Ocho Rios Health Clinic, which serves approximately 2,050 people annually. The equipment included a suction machine, blood pressure units, a digital thermometer, fetal Doppler, an X-ray view box, among other pieces of equipment.
By: Janet Silvera