Govt allocates $31b to upgrade public health infrastructure

The Government is projecting to spend between $27.2 billion and $31.2 billion over the next five years on public health infrastructure development.

Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton, made the announcement during his contribution to the 2019/20 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives today.

 “This will represent the largest investment in over 20 years in public health. This is not a wish; in fact, there are resources that are already in place. We have resources where the expenditure will begin this year,” he noted.

Some of the health facilities to be upgraded include the Spanish Town Hospital ($3.1 billion), St Ann’s Bay Hospital ($463.3 million), Kingston Public Hospital Improvement Project ($2.3 billion), May Pen Hospital ($238.3 million), Cornwall Regional Hospital ($3.5 billion), and the Western Child and Adolescent Hospital ($5.7 billion).

Health centres to be upgraded include the Greater Portmore Health Centre ($344.1 million), Old Harbour Health Centre ($489.7 million), May Pen West Health Centre ($132.4 million), Chapelton Community Hospital ($18.5 million), Mocho Health Centre ($26.5 million),  Brown’s Town Health Centre ($211.8 million), Lionel Town Health Centre ($18.5 million), and St Ann’s Bay Health Centre ($105.9  million).

The minister also informed that a financing agreement valued at US$100 million was signed in November last year with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to support public health.

Some US$50 million (J$6.2 billion) will be used to respond to the critical infrastructure needs in the areas of hospital beds, health centre upgrades, and the implementation of health information systems. 

Meanwhile, Dr Tufton said almost J$1 billion has been committed to begin the process of installing health information systems.

“This will see integrated information systems for health, notably electronic health records system, and the expansion of tele-health services in at least three health regions,” the minister said.