STEP ONE: PM Simpson-Miller, Shaggy, and others perform the official ground-breaking.
“Our children constitute a special segment of the population. They deserve the best care and treatment as the health of our people represents the wealth of our nation,” remarked Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller, addressing Wednesday’s groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a new multi-million dollar state-of-the-art Cardiac Wing at the Bustamante Hospital for Children in Kingston.
The new cardiac wing has been made possible under a public-private partnership agreement with support coming from Chain of Hope UK, Digicel Jamaica, Sagicor Investment Ltd, Gift of Life District 7020, the Caribbean Heart Menders, and the Congenital Heart Institute of Florida. Digicel Jamaica has donated $100 million towards the construction of the facility with a further $40 million coming from Sagicor Investments Limited.
“This new cardiac wing will provide an increased number of paediatric Intensive Care Unit beds in Jamaica, reduce waiting time for such surgeries and decrease the number of children on the waiting list for surgery,” Simpson-Miller explained, adding that the specialist facility will also allow for general improvement in the expertise of local medical personnel in performing complex cardiac surgeries. Each year, up to 500 children are born with congenital heart disease, and about half of that number requires cardiac surgery.
Also on hand for the ceremony were the likes of health minister Dr. Fenton Ferguson; Her Excellency the Most Hon. Lady Allen; Lyttleton Shirley, Chairman of South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA); Emma Scanlan, Executive Director of Chain of Hope; Digicel’s CEO Andy Thorburn; Sagicor’s Tar Nunes, and artist and philanthropist Orville ‘Shaggy’ Burrell.