Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon Sir Patrick Allen says while coronavirus (COVID-19) has clearly been the focus in 2020/2021, the Government continues work on its general health system strengthening initiatives.
Delivering the Throne Speech at the Ceremonial Opening of Parliament, on Thursday (February 18), he said these initiatives include:
• The construction of a five-bed Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for the Mandeville Regional Hospital.
• The expansion of ICU capacity at the Cornwall Regional, University of the West Indies, Kingston Public and Victoria Jubilee Hospitals.
• The creation of a four-bed High Dependency Unit (HDU) space at the Spanish Town Hospital.
• The construction of two facilities, one in the eastern and the other in the western part of the island, to provide additional isolation beds.
• An increase in the number of trained critical care personnel
The Governor-General reiterated the role the Ministry has played in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in recent months and also noted that the pandemic has heightened the need for amendments to modernise the Public Health and Quarantine Acts.
“Pandemics, health emergencies and weak health systems not only cost lives but pose great risks to our sustainable development. The Government, in a year that was like no other, continued to focus on enhancing healthcare services delivery. Managing the response to the COVID-19 pandemic requires multisectoral collaboration; it is a whole-of-society approach. Right from the inception of the pandemic, the Ministry developed a range of infection prevention and control protocols for various sectors and settings,”
“A national communication strategy was also executed. Screening and testing at our ports of entry further bolstered the pandemic response. Isolation and quarantine sites were put into operation in public hospitals and private facilities. The Government continues to monitor the local and international environment, disseminate its daily COVID-19 Situation Report and host regular press briefings”
He also said, notwithstanding the pandemic, activities directed towards enhanced vector control and prevention and management of non-communicable diseases have continued through inter-ministerial collaboration and private-sector partnerships.