China to build first new children’s hospital in Jamaica for 40 years

Plans for the construction of a 220-bed hospital have been signed by the governments of Jamaica and China.

The Western Children’s Hospital in Montego Bay, St James, will be the first to be built on the island since the May Pen Hospital in the 1970s and will provide increased access to paediatric treatment and care.

The Bustamante Hospital for Children in Kingston, Jamaica is in need of another 100 beds to satisfy demand, so the facility will "now deal fairly adequately with the demands of childcare" according to Jamaican health minister Christopher Tufton.

The hospital will allow families to "access specialised care for children and adolescents closer to their communities" as well as boosting tourism and easing congestion at Bustamante.

The facility will enable Jamaica to meet the targets under the UN Millennium Development Goals as they relate to the health of children.

The construction phase of the project will provide jobs for Jamaicans, while a section of healthcare professionals and support personnel will be employed following completion.

It is not clear when the hospital will be completed.

Image: The signing ceremony for the hospital with Chinese ambassador Niu Qingbao (Jamaica Information Service/Donald Delahaye)

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