Western Children's Hospital a step closer
The Government is a step closer towards commencing construction of the Western Children's Hospital in Montego Bay, St James.
Health minister, Dr Christopher Tufton, and Chinese ambassador to Jamaica, Niu Qingbao, signed an Economic and Technical Co-operation agreement for the provision of more than CNY300 million (J$5.8 billion) in funding for the development of the facility.
This follows the exchange of letters between the countries as an initial step in the process some 10 months ago.
Dr Tufton said the agreement demonstrates a commitment by both countries to complete the project through partnership.
He said the Government sees the project as an investment in the country's future.
"Investing in the health of our children is critical to their healthy development and to sustainable growth," he noted.
The facility will be the first public hospital to be constructed in the island since the May Pen Hospital was built in the 1970s.
The 220-bed facility will complement the Bustamante Children's Hospital in Kingston, providing increased access to specialised paediatric and adolescent care.
"Families will also be able to access specialised care for their homes and communities," Dr Tufton said.
He said the hospital will enable Jamaica to meet targets set out in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), particularly as it relates to the health status of children.
This, he said, is essential as the country strives towards "achieving a healthy and stable population as outlined in Jamaica's Vision 2030 National Development Plan".
The health minister expressed gratitude to the people and government of China for the partnership, which, he noted, "is crucial in bolstering the health sector's ability to administer public health efficiently".
Meanwhile, Ambassador Qingbao said the signing signifies the solidarity between the countries.
"China is keen to work with Jamaica so that the people have better access to education and medical facilities," he said.