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Japan donates $123 million for equipment at children’s hospital

Friday, March 28, 2014    

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THE Bustamante Hospital for Children has received a $123-million (US$117,176) grant from the Government of Japan to purchase vital equipment, which will significantly boost health care delivery at the institution.

The funds, provided under Japan's Grant Assistance for Grass-Roots and Human Security Projects, through the Japanese Embassy in Jamaica, will be used to acquire 23 pieces of equipment which the hospital's management has identified as urgent.

These include a ventilator; eight vital sign patient monitors; an internal mobile dental unit; and six internal mobile blood pressure units.

Agreements formalising the donation were on Wednesday signed by Chargé d'Affaires at the Japanese Embassy Koji Tomita and the hospital's Chief Executive Officer Anthony Wood, at the facility's Arthur Wint Drive location in Kingston.

The latest grant commitment is the third such extended to the Bustamante Hospital over the last 19 years. Similar gestures were made in 1995 and 2008, facilitating the acquisition of a multi-purpose ambulance, and laboratory equipment.

In his remarks, Tomita expressed confidence that the latest grant provision "will have far-reaching benefits for the development of Jamaica's health system".

He assured that the Government of Japan was "firmly committed" to ensuring that emphasis on safeguarding the welfare of persons is the major focus of the country's Official Development Assistance policy.

"Thus, our commitment to Jamaica's health needs continues to be a core priority for the Government of Japan, and we are willing to work with the Government of Jamaica as well as each hospital, like the Bustamante Hospital for Children,"

Tomita said.

Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson, in his remarks, noted that Jamaica has shared 50 years of fruitful diplomatic relations with Japan, "a partnership that has brought great value to the Government and people of Jamaica".

"We laud the Japanese (Government through the) embassy for what you have done in continuing that great tradition. I believe that this definitely represents a significant (achievement) for us," the minister added.

Acting chairman of the South East Regional Health Authority Dr Andrei Cooke said the latest grant from Japan will go a far way in advancing the services offered at the hospital.

"This outstanding donation is seen as a pledge to the further development of the quality of care the children will receive at this facility. The donation is (also) a timely gift, given the fact that we are operating in an atmosphere of scarce national resources,"

he said

In noting that over 73,000 children received medical attention in the hospital's Accident and Emergency Department in 2013, Dr Cooke said this is evidence of the great demand for paediatric services and, by extension, the other services of this hospital.

— JIS

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