Minister of Health, Dr. Christopher Tufton (right), hugs Dr. Venice Guntly-McKenzie (second right), inside the new Paediatric Cardiac Centre which was officially opened at the Bustamante Hospital for Children on Monday (April 15). With them are Senior Medical Officer, Bustamante Hospital for Children, Dr. Michelle-Ann Richards (left); and Chief Executive Officer, Sagicor Bank, Chorvelle Johnson.
Rudranath Fraser/JIS Photo
A new multi-million dollar state-of-the-art Paediatric Cardiac Centre has been officially opened at the Bustamante Hospital for Children.
In Opening the centre Monday, April 15, Minister of Health, Dr. Christopher Tufton, thanked several donors, including artiste Shaggy for helping to make the one-of-a-kind centre in Jamaica possible.
The centre currently offers treatment and surgeries for children living with congenital heart defects. It is complete with a 10-bed intensive care unit and a state-of-the-art biplane catheterisation lab.
At the opening ceremony for the facility on the grounds of the hospital, in Kingston, Dr. Tufton said the centre will make a major difference in the lives of children who suffer from congenital heart defects.
“We have a responsibility to the next generation, and this demonstrates our commitment to carrying out that responsibility. There are about 400 or so children who are born in Jamaica with congenital heart-related diseases. Of that number, some 200 require some sort of surgical intervention. We have a waiting list of close to 200 currently in the country, so this facility is a response to that,” the Minister said.
He said one major goal within the first year after the official opening is to deliver a minimum of 100 heart surgeries inside the facility.
“We’re going to be building that up until we get to the stage where we can satisfy the demand [for heart surgeries] that exist,” he added.
He also thanked the donors: Shaggy Make a Difference, Digicel Group, Digicel Foundation, Chain of Hope, Sagicor Group Jamaica, Rotary Club, National Health Fund and individual donors, for contributions they have made to the construction and equipment.
“Their contribution on this journey is unquestionable. In fact, we wouldn’t be here without them,” the Minister said.
He also noted that the Government and donors are currently paying the cost for the surgeries, which can cost families approximately US$5,500 for surgery for children or US$2,000 for other procedures that are offered at the paediatric cardiac centre.
“We don’t charge for surgeries currently. We’re asking for contributions, because that’s what it costs us and our partners,” Dr. Tufton said.