The Japanese Government has donated some US$123,000 (J$11 million) to effect repairs to the female medical ward at the Annotto Bay Hospital in St Mary, which was damaged during last year's passage of Hurricane Sandy.
"As one of the world's top donors of Official Development Assistance (ODA), the Government of Japan has a keen interest in assisting human security projects which focus on people-centred co-operation," said Japanese Ambassador to Jamaica Yasuo Takase.
The ambassador, who was addressing the contract signing ceremony last Thursday, said it is towards this objective that his Government continues to support the efforts of the Jamaican Government and people to make progress in the economic development of the country in the areas of agriculture, health and education.
Ambassador Takase said assistance is being given to this project in the hope that all female patients to the hospital will be able to receive high standard health care in a new and improved facility.
Senior Medical Officer for the institution, Dr Ray Fraser, said while the hospital has been impacted by several disasters since relocating to its present site in 1950, "none has devastated us as Sandy".
Dr Fraser said during the passage of Hurricane Sandy approximately 85 per cent of the hospital's roof was damaged, resulting in a dislocation of staff and a reduction in services.
The cost to repair the facility is approximately $60 million, which includes $10.4 million for the Accident and Emergency Department which has already been repaired.
The grant signed by the Japanese is expected to finance work on the female ward, however, another $8 million is needed to refurbish the maternity ward, $7.6 million for the link ways, $4.5 million for the paediatric ward, $4.2 million for the medical records department and $5.8 million for the porters' lodge and nurses' quarters.
Dr Fraser said the staff of the hospital was very grateful for the assistance given by the Japanese Government.
"Given the present economic constraints in our country we know it would be extremely challenging for the Jamaican Government alone to mobilise the resources in such short order. We are very grateful to you (Ambassador Takase) and by extension the Government and the people of Japan to come onboard, along with other donors, and to have made this well-needed contribution," he said.