Ground was broken on Wednesday (October 23), for the official commencement of work to build the $5.7-billion (US$43-million) Western Children and Adolescents Hospital in St. James.
The 220-bed, seven-floor complex is a gift from the People’s Republic of China, and will include a 60-room residential facility for medical and health professionals.
Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Christopher Tufton, said construction of the facility will increase bed space to 618 in the western region, which includes St. James, Westmoreland, Trelawny and Hanover.
He noted that the hospital is a welcome addition to Jamaica’s public health infrastructure, noting that the focus on childcare and adolescent care “will relieve the strain on the Bustamante Hospital for Children”.
“What is more, the new facility is only one in a series of steps to overhaul the entire health sector infrastructure to ensure we are able to effectively respond to current and emergent demands, including the current communicable and non-communicable diseases burden,” Dr. Tufton added.
“Today is a good day for public health in Jamaica and, in particular, for the close to 500,000 people served by the western health region,” he said.
For his part, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, His Excellency Tian Qi, said the new hospital will not only be the largest in Jamaica but also the entire Caribbean.
He said that the project is a manifestation of the 47-year friendship between Jamaica and China.
“China and Jamaica are good friends and are great partners. This hospital is a gift from the Chinese Government and the people of China to the Jamaican Government and its people, especially to the younger generation. This is a testimony of our friendship and goodwill between both countries and also one of the early harvests of our cooperation,” he pointed out.