CHASE Fund donates equipment, vehicles to hospitals
Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton (right), greets ambulance drivers, Donovan Daley (centre), who is attached to the Princess Margaret Hospital in St. Thomas, and William Smith, who is based at the Bustamante Hospital for Children in Kingston.(Photo: JIS)

On World Kidney Day, Thursday, March 9, the renal unit of the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) was bolstered with the formal handover of 10 new hemodialysis machines, valued over $30 million, by the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund.

The entity also presented two new ambulances, valued at approximately $33 million, to the Linstead Public Hospital in St Catherine, and Princess Margaret Hospital in St Thomas.

Speaking at the handover ceremony at the KPH, Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton, welcomed the donations, while applauding the longstanding partnership between the health sector and the CHASE Fund.

He said the investment in the sector is “money well spent”, noting that the newly installed dialysis machines will replace some of those at the KPH. The total number of machines now at the hospital is 19.

Dr Tufton used the opportunity to urge Jamaicans to recognise that “the solution doesn’t lie in more dialysis machines, as much as we need to add capacity; the solution lies in trying to reduce the demand… [and] to minimise premature mortality risks”.

He also indicated that the recent provision of ambulances to hospitals forms part of efforts to bolster the Ministry’s logistics fleet.

Both ambulances donated by the CHASE Fund are each equipped with a stretcher, suction machines, oxygen, inverter, emergency LED lights and handwash station, among other equipment and accessories.

Dr Tufton cautioned: “We will never have enough, if we continue to operate in a manner where trauma remains one of the highest contributors to hospital care and, indeed, it is.”

“I want to advise and encourage Jamaicans to take it easy on the roads. Find ways to resolve your disputes without sticks and stones and gunshots, and recognise that if it is a case where these things happen often enough, there’s a point at which the health system cannot respond in terms of an emergency response in a way that we expect,” Dr Tufton said.

For his part, CHASE Fund chief executive officer, Wilford “Billy” Heaven, informed that the entity has made significant investments in the KPH and, by extension, the health sector.

He urged the hospital’s leadership to “try to maintain [the machines] and keep them in good order, and [ensure] that they are used for the purpose intended”, adding that “overall, we are happy to be a part of the two projects”.

Heaven said the CHASE Fund is exploring a “vibrant programme” that deals with preventative measures, which will redound to fewer costs than seeking cures.

Also highlighted during the handover ceremony was the procurement of an inventory truck, valued over $9 million, by the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) for its office. The vehicle will be used to transport heavy-duty equipment.

SERHA also acquired three 2023 vehicles for errands, at a cost of more than $18 million.

Two are Hilux pickups, which are assigned to the KPH and Linstead Public Hospital, while the third is a Hiace panel van based at the St Thomas Health Department.

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