Ground will be broken on Thursday (May 17) for the construction of two High Dependency Units (HDU) at the St. Ann’s Bay Hospital, St. Ann.
The project comes under the European Union (EU)-funded Programme for the Reduction of Maternal and Child Mortality (PROMAC).
As part of PROMAC, nine HDUs will be established in five hospitals across the island in a bid to significantly reduce maternal and infant mortality.
Director of Family Health Services in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Simone Spence, told JIS News that the HDUs are being developed under one of five components of the $2.8-billion (€22-million) programme.
“Under this component, which addresses newborn and emergency obstetric care, we are slated to build nine HDUs in public hospitals across the island – Cornwall Regional (St. James), St. Ann’s Bay, Spanish Town (St. Catherine), Bustamante Children’s Hospital (St. Andrew), and Victoria Jubilee Hospital (Kingston),” she informed.
“There will be five obstetric and maternal HDUs and four neonatal HDUs. Each hospital will have two – one obstetric and one neonatal, except Bustamante, which will have a neonatal only,” she indicated.
Dr. Spence explained that component two of the project seeks to improve primary healthcare services.
Renovation and refurbishing works would be done at three health centres – Savanna-la-Mar in Westmoreland, Mandeville Comprehensive in Manchester, and St. Jago Park in St. Catherine.
Dr. Spence pointed out that the three facilities, along with the Annotto Bay Health Centre in St. Mary; and the Chapelton and Alexandria Community Hospitals in Clarendon and St. Ann respectively, have received equipment under component two.
Dr. Spence said that ambulances have also been acquired for the four health centres and two community hospitals as a part of the support services to primary healthcare.
“We have procured six ambulances and provided support in terms of laboratory and ultrasound equipment to these facilities as well,” she noted.
Under component three of the programme, the team is undertaking ongoing training of primary healthcare workers, particularly in the areas of capacity-building in managing high-risk pregnancies, neonatal resuscitation and customer service.
“We have training programmes at the University of the West Indies and the University of Technology and in-service training, which will see doctors and nurses improving their capacity in terms of manning the HDUs, and an interdisciplinary approach to managing our obstetric and newborn care,” Dr. Spence said.
PROMAC was conceptualised by the Government of Jamaica through the Ministry of Health along with the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), following Jamaica’s performance during the mid-term review of the 10th European Development Fund.