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China gives Jamaica US$36m to build children's hospital in MoBay

Friday, October 19, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — The Government has received approximately US$36.16 million (250 million RMB Yuan) from the Government of the People's Republic of China to construct the Western Children's Hospital in St James and undertake other projects to be agreed on by both countries.

The 220-bed facility, which will be the first such in Jamaica and the Caribbean, will be built on the compound of the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) in Montego Bay, St James, with work expected to commence by the end of the current fiscal year, in March 2019.

Funding is being provided under an Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement, which was signed on Thursday (October 18) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, New Kingston, by Portfolio Minister, Kamina Johnson Smith, on behalf of the Government; and China's Ambassador to Jamaica, Tian Qi.

The signing was witnessed by Health Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton.

Johnson Smith said the agreement and, by extension, construction of the hospital represents “another positive development and demonstration of the effective and strong cooperation between our countries”.

She noted that the new facility will better enable Jamaica to reach its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), “which we are seeking to attain in every aspect, including health”.

“We are [also] pleased that the hospital will not only create jobs in the construction phase, but in its development and implementation… will have need for more nurses, doctors, anaesthetists, caretakers, and more service providers generally. So, we see this hospital as not only [pivotal in] attaining our health SDG, but certainly moving Jamaica towards prosperity,” the minister said.

In his remarks, Dr Tufton said the new hospital will add significant capacity to Jamaica's health sector, by providing specialist medical care for youngsters up to age 18.

Dr Tufton said the Chinese government's support for the hospital is indicative of its recognition that the hospital is an “important building block” in strengthening the local health sector as well as the countries' relations.

“Today represents a further very positive development, and we certainly look forward to building on this,” the minister said.

For his part, Ambassador Qi said the hospital is a “precious gift” from the government and people of China, especially for the children, and represents “a new symbol of the friendship between our countries.”

“I believe that with the completion of the hospital, medical service for the children, not only in the western region but the entire island will be substantially improved. Additionally, a lot of job opportunities will be provided… and the social and economic development in and around the region will be promoted,” he added.

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