Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton and senior representatives from the South East Regional Health Authority signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Chain of Hope UK and multiple stakeholders for the establishment of the Jamaica Children’s Heart Centre at the Bustamante Hospital for Children in Kingston. The cardiac facility, which is being established at a cost of US$10 Million is expected to be completed this year. It will provide specialist cardiac care, free of cost, to children between the ages of zero to 12 years. It is anticipated that the new centre will facilitate at least 150 cardiac surgeries.
During the ceremony held on June 21, 2016, Hon. Dr Tufton, said the event marked “another important milestone in Jamaica’s healthcare system”. He noted that the establishment of the centre will see many children accessing better cardiac care and more cardiac surgeries and treatment. The Minister further noted that centre is being established based on the great demand for paediatric cardiac care and treatment in Jamaica. Noting that the hospital’s intensive care unit at the Bustamante Hospital only has five beds, he said the new cardiac centre will provide 10 ICU beds dedicated to cardiac patients.
Meanwhile, Mr. Philip Armstrong, Board Chairman for SERHA said the MoU signing meant that the hospital was as a “step closer to opening the first paediatric cardiac centre in Jamaica and possibly the Caribbean”. Noting that the demand for cardiac services is tremendous, Mr. Armstrong said the hospital has worked assiduously to provide the best quality care for patients. He added that the establishment of the centre will further strengthen the hospital’s capacity to better serve these patients. “The cardiac centre aims to provide children with the most effective cardiac care in the world. It is my hope that the centre will play a more integral role in improving the quality of the outcomes of our paediatric cardiac patients, while striving to reduce significantly the waiting list for surgical interventions and reducing the impact of congenital heart disease in Jamaica,” he said.
In the meantime, Chief Executive Officer, Chain of Hope United Kingdom (UK), Emma Scanlan, thanked the Health Ministry for bringing the centre “back to life”, and committed to working in harmony with the stakeholders to create a much needed service for the betterment of the children of Jamaica. The partners involved in the project include Chain of Hope United Kingdom (UK), Chain of Hope Jamaica, Digicel Jamaica, Sagicor Investments Limited, Gift of Life District 7020, the Caribbean Heart Menders Association, the National Health Fund, the Cardiac Kids Foundation of Florida, the Congenital Heart Institute of Florida, the Jamaica Children’s Heart Fund and the Shaggy Make a Difference Foundation.