SERHA Hosts TB Training for Community Members

The Kingston and St. Andrew (KSA) Health Services observed World Tuberculosis (TB) Day on March 24 with a training session for community members.


Normalcy Returned to Bustamante Hospital for Children

Normal Operations have resumed at the Bustamante Hospital for Children. As at 2:00 p.m. today (March 24, 2016) the hospital began offering its complete set of services.

The hospital resorted to accepting only emergency cases for the past 24 hours because of industrial action taken by health records staff following an incident, which resulted in a health records clerk being seriously injured.

This morning Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Winston De La Haye met with the Hospital Management and Union Representatives to further discuss the concerns of the staff and to chart the way forward.


The management of the hospital is taking steps to address the concerns of the staff and to implement measures to further strengthen security systems at the Bustamante Hospital for Children.

The injured staff member has had a surgical procedure done and was discharged this afternoon from KPH.

Bustamante Hospital for Children Accepting Emergency Cases Only

The South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) wishes to advise the public that the Bustamante Hospital for Children is only accepting emergency cases until further notice.

This is as a result of the industrial action being taken by the health records staff following an incident involving a parent at the hospital, which resulted in a health records clerk being seriously injured.

The incident occurred last night (March 22, 2017) at approximately 11:00 p.m. The police was immediately summoned to the hospital to deal with the matter. The staff member has been admitted to the Kingston Public Hospital and is now recovering from surgery.

A meeting was held this morning (March 23, 2017) with the staff, police, union representatives and the management of the hospital. The staff was given the opportunity to voice their concerns and the management team advised them of the way forward in terms of addressing the concerns. The safety of the staff is paramount. The staff has been reassured that security measures will be strengthened to further safeguard them while they carry out their duties.

Counselling will be offered to all members of staff as needed.

The Region is working with the staff to restore normalcy as soon as possible.

The Region continues to appeal to the public to treat all health staff with respect and give them your full cooperation while they continue to serve the public.

There is complaint mechanism in place and so anyone who is dissatisfied with the service they receive can lodge a complaint to the Patients’ Affairs Department at the hospital. The public can also call 1888-429-5013 or e-mail

Linstead Public Hospital Celebrates 100 years

The Linstead Public Hospital is celebrating 100 years of continuous service to the public this year. The hospital kicked off its year-long celebration with a church service at the Linstead Baptist Church in St. Catherine on Sunday, March 19, 2017. (L-R) Mr. Robert Pickersgill, Member of Parliament, North West St. Catherine; Dr. Kotaiah Katragadda, Senior Medical Officer, Linstead Public Hospital and Mr. Peter McConnel, Chairman, Linstead Hospital Management Committee participate in the church service.

Cardiac Mission at Bustamante Hospital for Children

Minister of Health Dr. The Hon, Christopher Tufton (centre) interacts with Sashanique Johnson, cardiac patient at the Bustamante Hospital for Children. Looking on are (L-R) Dr. Sharrone Forester, Consultant Paediatrician, Bustamante Hospital for Children (BHC); Mark Gayle, Vice President Quality, Edwards Life Sciences; Emma Scanlan, CEO, Chain of Hope and Ms. Heidi Hess, President, Gift of Life Florida. Sashanique is one of seven patients that benefited so far from a cardiac mission at BHC currently underway.

SERHA Support Staff Receive Infection Control Training

Approximately 25 support staff from the Kingston and St. Andrew Health Services have received basic training in infection prevention and control (ICP).

The training is geared towards boosting the capacity of these health care workers in the application of ICP in the execution of assigned duties. This will help to prevent the spread of infectious diseases in the health facilities where they work.

The support staff, also known as ancillary workers, are critical partners in safeguarding the health of patients and are frontline workers in terms of minimising the risk of infection through the various cleaning regimes applied.

The training not only arms them with the knowledge to keep the staff and patients safe, but also provides an excellent foundation for understanding the associated risks of and the proper procedures for effective hygienic cleaning.

The training is the first of two planned workshops, with the second slated to take place on April 13, 2017 and will target 40 additional support staff.

Issa Trust Foundation/NCB Foundation Donate Foetal and Maternal Monitor to VJH

Mrs. Nadine Anderson Lawrence, Acting Deputy Matron, Victoria Jubilee Hospital (VJH) explains how the foetal and maternal monitor works to (L-R) Mrs. Thalia Lyn, Chairman, National Commercial Bank (NCB) Foundation; Mr. Paul Issa, Chairman, Issa Trust Foundation; Mr. Garfield Palmer, Branch Manager, NCB Duke Street and Mr. Ruel Rainford, Deputy CEO, Kingston Public and Victoria Jubilee Hospitals. The monitor which is valued at US$5,000 was donated by the Issa Trust Foundation and NCB Foundation.

SERHA Urges Parents to Visit Primary Care Facilities with Children who have Non-Urgent Illnesses

The South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) continues to encourage parents with children who have non-urgent illnesses to seek health care services at their nearest primary care facility. Parents are also urged to seek early medical intervention for their children who are sick in order reduce the onset of complications that will require hospitalisation.

The public is reminded that the following health centres offers extended opening hours:

Kingston & St. Andrew

  1. Glen Vincent Health Centre (Paediatrics) (Monday-Friday) 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  2. Comprehensive Health Centre (Monday-Friday) 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m
  3. Duhaney Park Health Centre (Mondays and Saturdays) 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m
  4. Olympic Gardens Health Centre (Mondays Only) 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m

St. Catherine

  1. St. Jago Park Health Centre (Monday to Friday) 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m
  2. Greater Portmore Health Centre (Mondays and Wednesdays) 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Minister of Health and Health City Reps Meets with Cardiac Patients

Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton and Dr. Chandy Abraham, CEO and Director of Medical Services, Health City Hospital in the Cayman Islands shares a light moment with three year-old Lashell Campbell (held by Dr. Tufon) and her aunt Latheva James (second left) and Antoinette Scarlette- Kelly and her son Kevoy during a visit to the Bustamante Hospital for Children on Friday, March 3, 2017. The children are two of three patients scheduled to visit the Cayman Hospital for cardiac surgery as part of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Health and Health City. Two patients have already received surgery at City Health.

SERHA Staff Receive Training in Disaster Risk Management

More than 40 members of staff from the South East Regional Health Authority received training in Disaster Risk Management and Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) training in order to strengthen the capacity of the country’s health sector to respond to natural disasters and emergencies.

The Ministry of Health partnered with the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) to host the training under the Caribbean Disaster Risk Management Programme (Health Sector), which is being facilitated by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and funded by the Canadian Government.

The three-day training which started on February 21, 2017 is the second in a series of four training sessions at the ODPEM in Kingston and was attended by staff from parish health departments, hospitals and health centres as well as the Regional Office. The first training was held in December 2016 and involved staff from the Ministry of Health’s head office.

A total of 150 healthcare workers across the four Regional Health Authorities (RHAs) will be equipped in EOC management, and another 150 in Mass Casualty Management and Incident Command Systems, Logistics Supply Systems and Post Disaster Assessment.

A minimum of 1,000 healthcare workers across the Caribbean region will be trained in Disaster Risk Reduction and Management under the programme.

Local Doctor Donates Wheelchairs to Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre

Mr. Vincent Riley (seated), Chief Executive Officer, Liguanea Region, tests one seven wheelchairs donated to the Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre (SJGRC) by Dr. Trevor Hacker, a Dental Surgeon based in Westmoreland. Also viewing the wheelchairs are Dr. Narasimha Yerreddu (left), Medical Officer, SJGRC; Dr. Paw Tun (second left), Medical Officer, SJGRC; Mrs. Susan Hariss Henry (centre), Head of the Physiotherapy Department, SJGRC and Ms. Melane Walker (right), Hospital Administrator. Dr. Sandra Chambers (second right), Regional Medical Epidemiologist, South East Regional Health Authority handed over the equipment on behalf of Dr. Hacker on February 8, 2017.

Dental Services at St. Jago Park Health Centre Temporarily Relocated

The South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) wishes to advise the public that dental services at the St. Jago Park Health Centre in St. Catherine has been temporarily relocated due to a minor fire which occurred in the Dental Department this morning.

Dental patients can access services at the following health centres located in St. Catherine until further notice:

Bridgeport Dental

Sydenham Health Centre

Sligoville Health Centre

Old Harbour Health Centre

Bog Walk Health Centre

Linstead Health Centre

Additionally, the dental staff from the St. Jago Park Health Centre have been redeployed to these health centres to assist with the expected increase in patient load.

According to preliminary reports, the fire which occurred at 10:30 a.m. was immediately contained by members of staff with the use of fire extinguishers. The Health Centre was evacuated and all health services suspended for the day. The Fire Brigade was also called in to provider further support.

One member of staff was treated for smoke inhalation.

The maintenance team is currently conducting an assessment of the damage and will work assiduously to do the necessary repairs in order for the Dental Department to be operational in the shortest time possible.

All other services at the St. Jago Park Health Centre will resume tomorrow (February 7, 2017) and every effort is being made to eliminate the residual smell of smoke so that operations can be as normal as possible. The public will be advised as soon as the Dental Department is reopened.

The Region thanks the staff at the St. Jago Park Health Centre for their quick action in bringing the fire under control and the successful evacuation of the patients.

The Region apologises for any inconvenience the relocation of the dental services may cause.

Minister of Health Lauds Bustamante Hospital for Children Staff

Minister of Health, Dr. Hon Christopher (left) reads the thank you card he presented to the staff at the Bustamante Hospital for Children who valiantly rescued four patients that were in the Intensive Care Unit when a fire started in the consultant’s room on Thursday, January 12, 2017. Colleen Morrison (right), Critical Care Nurse, received the first card. She was very instrumental in evacuating the patients from the ICU. Looking on is Mr. Anthony Wood (Second Left), Chief Executive Officer and Mrs. Patricia Ingram Martin, Director of Nursing Services.

Bustamante Hospital for Children ICU Temporarily Closed

The Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Bustamante Hospital for Children has been temporarily closed due to a fire in the unit last night. Preliminary reports indicate that the fire occurred at approximately 7:15 p.m. in the consultant’s room, but was quickly contained by members of staff using an extinguisher. The Fire Department was also called to the hospital for further assistance.

Four patients who were being cared for in the ICU were immediately evacuated to another section of the hospital. These patients were not affected by the fire, however, they are currently being monitored closely by hospital staff. One member of staff was treated for smoke inhalation.

An assessment of the damage caused by the fire will commence immediately so that repair work can be affected in order for the ICU to be reopened in the shortest time possible. In light of the closure, all future paediatric ICU patients will be facilitated at the University Hospital of the West Indies until the Bustamante Hospital for Children’s ICU is reopened.

The Region wishes to thank the staff at the Bustamante Hospital for Children for their valiant efforts to preserve and protect the lives of the patients during this incident.

Health Minister Tours National Chest Hospital

(L-R) Barry Chisolm, Chairman of the National Chest Hospital Management Committe; Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, Member of Parliament for St. Andrew East; the Hon. Fayval Williams and Vincent Riley, CEO, discussing treatment services provided at the National Chest Hospital during the tour of the hospital on Friday January 13, 2017. The tour, which began last year, forms part of the national progamme to see firsthand the administration of the public health system and assess the needs of facilities.

Waiting Time Reduction Programme Launched

Dr. Hon. Christopher Tufton officially launched the Ministry of Health’s Reduction in Waiting Time Project at the Bustamante Hospital for Children on December 15, 2016. The project, which was introduced in April, was rolled out in six other hospitals across the island at a cost of approximately $350 million. The hospitals include the Mandeville Regional, May Pen, Kingston Public, Cornwall Regional, Spanish Town and St Ann’s Bay hospitals.

During launch Dr. Tufton said the customer service experience was enhanced at the Bustamante Hospital for Children as part of the qualitative improvement of the administration of care in the hospital’s Accident and Emergency Department.

“By doing so we have added more windows for registrations; created a registration process that is immediate even before you get to the triage, which is the doctor or nurse which assess the state of the individual and then directs you to your most appropriate place,” He explained, noting that additional personnel have been added to the triage process.

He further noted that the patient’s experience must be shortened as best as possible in the initial assessment of their current state, so that they can be directed to where they can be dealt with appropriately.

“There has been a marked improvement in that process and anecdotally we have tested that by just dialoguing with the patients who come in and the way the system is structured where they see someone as they enter as opposed to sitting down waiting and wondering when they are going to see someone,” he said. “The process of registering allows them to get immediate attention.”

The project has also seen the extension of opening hours of selected health centres to support the hospitals in terms of treating non-urgent cases referred from the hospitals.

“We have added four more opening hours to the clinics and so in triaging the doctors or the nurses who are involved in that process [in the hospital] have a wider window to redirect non-essential cases to the clinics and therefore free up space and time to focus on what are truly emergency cases,” he said adding that the results since the implementation of the project has shown an increase in the throughput in the health centres.

KPH Nursing Programme Class of 1966 donates 500 sheets to KPH

Mr. Ruel Rainford (right), Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Kingston Public and Victoria Jubilee Hospitals and Mrs. Debbie-Ann McKenzie Cookes (Second right), Acting Director of Nursing Services, Kingston Public Hospital view sheets donated by the Kingston Public Hospital Nursing Programme Class of 1966. Looking on are graduates Mrs. Gloria Martin-Schenk (left), Mrs. Shirley Tomlinson (second left); Mrs. Evadney Crooks (third right) and Mrs. Marjorie Ming (third left), Lecturer, Caribbean School of Nursing, UTech. The Class of 1966 donated 500 sets of sheets and pillow cases to KPH in recognition of their 50th anniversary and the hospitals 240th anniversary. This initiative was spearheaded by Mrs. Dorothy Moss, Mrs. Pat Yvonne Broderick-Wilson and Mrs. Buelah Johnson-Leslie who enlisted the support of several Florida based organizations as well as individuals and agencies for donations of sheets.

Governor General Spreads Christmas Cheer

Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen and Lady Allen brought Christmas cheer to patients at the Bustamante Hospital for Children, during their annual official visit to the hospital on December 1, 2016. They toured the Orthopaedic and Medical wards as well as the Learning and Activity Centre where they interacted with the children and staff and distributed toys, books, games and blankets to the patients as well as presented gifts to the hospital staff. Pictured here is Sir Patrick Allen, presenting a toy to one of the patients

Drug Serv Pharmacy Opened

Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton (right), cuts the ribbon to officially open the Drug Serve Pharmacy at the Kitson Town Health Centre in St. Catherine. Others pictured (from left) are Parish Manager, St. Catherine Health Services, Beverly Needham; Chief Executive Officer, National Health Fund (NHF), Everton Anderson, and Public Health Nurse at the facility, Christeen Smart-Guy.

The residents of Kitson Town are set benefit from improved pharmacy services with the opening of a Drug Serv Pharmacy at that facility. The original pharmacy was closed in 2012 due challenges with the recruitment of a pharmacist.

Minister of Health, Dr. Hon. Christopher Tufton speaking during the opening of the pharmacy on November 23, 2016 urged the residents to take care of the facility so that it can serve the health needs of the communities. He said the ministry is on a drive to improve healthcare services, which is best achieved through bringing efficient service to the people.

“This facility represents the start of a process that we hope to continue throughout the country,” he said.

Currently, doctors visit the centre three days per week. With the opening of the pharmacy, there will be a full-time pharmacist, a pharmacy technician and a curative nurse.

Additionally, the Dr. Tufton announced that the Kitson Town Health Centre, which caters to some 5,000 people annually, will be expanded early next year to offer dental, optical, screening and other services. The expansion is projected to cost some $40 million.

SERHA Partners with Dairy Board to Provide Milk to Pregnant Women

The South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) has partnered with the Jamaica Dairy Development Board and Serge Island Dairies Limited to provide a three month’s supply of milk to pregnant mothers in selected health centres in the parishes of Kingston and St. Andrew, St. Catherine and St. Thomas.

The first presentation took place at the Morant Bay Health Centre in St. Thomas on Wednesday, November 16, 2016. The second presentation was held at the Sunrise Health Centre in Kingston on Monday, November 21, 2016. At least 80 pregnant women have benefitted collectively.

The goal of this initiative is to improve the health of pregnant of mother and their babies. Under the project, the pregnant women who are registered at the selected health centres will receive three pints of milk free of cost weekly for three months.

Other health centres still to benefit from the project are the Comprehensive Health Centre in Kington, Stony Hill Health Centre in St. Andrew, and the St. Jago and Linstead Health Centres in St. Catherine.

Pictured here, Dr. Sophia Ramlal (Right), Vice Chairman, Jamaica Dairy Development Board presents boxes of milk to Ms. Shackeria Brown (centre) while Mrs. Milicent Wade Gibbs (left), Public Health Nurse, Sunrise Health Centre looks on during the presentation at the Sunrise Health Centre.

KPH hosts Minimally Invasive Surgery Symposium

The Department of Surgery at the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) partnered with the Caribbean Society of Endoscopic Surgeon (CaSES) to host a Minimally Invasive Surgery Symposium on Friday, November 18, 2016 at the facility.

The Symposium was held under the theme “Enhancing Surgical Quality Through Minimally Invasive Surgery” is geared towards exposing participants to laparoscopy and the latest advancements. It featured presentations from local as well as visiting surgeons from Trinidad, Barbados, Curacao and the United States. In addition, there were workshops for surgeons/surgeons-in-training and Operating Theatre nurses. The evening session featured advanced laparoscopic surgeries that were performed in KPH’s operating theatre and streamed live to the conference room.

Minimally invasive surgery is associated with less pain, shorter hospital stay and faster recovery. Laparoscopy, which is a form of minimally invasive surgery, is done through one or more small incisions, using small tubes, tiny cameras and small surgical instruments instead of making large incisions with large instruments.

The presentations will include:

Basic Laparoscopy – Gallbladder and Appendix

Advanced Laparoscopy – Dissection and Suturing

Laparoscopic Foregut Surgery

Laparoscopic Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary (HPB) surgery

Laparoscopic Colo-Rectal Surgery

Surgical Endoscopy

Operation Room Preparation for Laparoscopic Surgery

Intra-operative Challenges in Laparoscopic Surgery

Flexible Endoscopic Sinus Surgery at KPH

Arthroscopy at KPH

Laparoscopy at VJH

Spinal Surgery at KPH Endorsed by Scoliosis Research Society

The South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) is pleased to announce that the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) has received international certification as a centre of excellence for spinal surgery by the Scoliosis Research Society (SRS) in the United States. Only 11 other sites around the world have received this prestigious endorsement.

The SRS is an international society aimed at fostering optimal care for all patients with spinal deformities.  The certification was made possible through the efforts of the Duncan Tree Foundation (DTF) and was presented to the hospital during the official launch of the Foundation’s Jamaica Chapter on November 6, 2016.

DTF is a US-based, non-profit organisation which has conducted nine medical missions at the KPH since 2012. Through its volunteers, the Foundation has partnered with local medical teams to conduct 94 scoliosis surgeries on adolescent patients at the Kingston Public and Cornwall Regional Hospitals. The instruments required for each surgery, valued at US$200,000 each, are also donated by the Foundation. “SERHA is proud of this remarkable accomplishment which means that orthopaedic surgeons from the United States, Europe, Asia, and Africa will now be able to support DTF’s Scoliosis Care Fund Project at KPH through knowledge transfer, capacity building,

and lending support to the orthopaedic medical team at KPH,” Mr. Philip Armstrong, SERHA Board Chairman said. “I would like to express sincere appreciation to the Duncan Tree Foundation for the role it continues to play in the advancement of spinal surgery at KPH and the number of patients it has helped through the scoliosis surgeries that have been provided.”

The Foundation’s latest medical mission to the island took place October 27 - November 6, 2016 at the Kingston Public and Cornwall Regional Hospitals where 13 adolescent patients received scoliosis surgery.

Bustamante Hospital for Children Annual Conference Focus on Sickle Cell Disease

The Bustamante Hospital for Children hosted its annual Leila Wynter Commemorative Conference on Monday November 7, 2016 under the theme “Sickle Cell Disease in Children”. Dr. Winston De La Haye, Chief Medical Officer, Ministry of Health in his remarks that was read by Dr. Michelle Ann Richards-Dawson, Senior Medical Officer lauded BHC as a beacon for health care for children not only in Jamaica but the entire Region.

He further noted that Sickle Cell Disease continues to be health challenge globally with approximately five per cent of the world’s population carring the trait gene for haemoglobin disorders, mainly Sickle Cell Disease and Thalassaemia. “In Jamaica, one in every 150 births has a form of Sickle Cell Disease (SCD). A gene SCD is carried by 15 per cent of the Jamaican population. Current Estimates suggests that 1.8 per cent 1,000 persons in Jamaica are living with Sickle Cell Disease, making it a major Non-communicable Disease,” he said. Dr. De La Hay also noted that Sickle Cell Disease is one of the priority conditions that has been included under the Cabinet approved National Strategic and Action Plan for the prevention and control of NCDs 2013 to 2018.

“The Ministry of Health continues to implement targets for Sickle Cell Disease under this plan,” he added. “Persons with Sickle Cell continue to benefit as one of the Chronic Illnesses on the National Health Fund. Also, over 100 health care workers have been trained in Sickle Cell Disease management.”

Mr. Anthony Wood, Chief Executive Officer, Bustamante Hospital for Children, who represented Mr. Philip Armstrong, SERHA’s Board Chairman noted that according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Over 300,000 babies with severe Hemoglobin disorders are born each year, with the majority in low and middle income countries.

"Right here at the Bustamante Hospital for Children over 200 patients with Sickle Cell Disease were admitted last year,” he said. “Undoubtedly, the impact on families with children affected by Sickle Cell is far reaching as it involves emotional strain, interruption of studies and way of life because of frequent visits to health facilities for treatment and care. Therefore, strengthening the paediatric health system to meet the needs of our young patients is paramount."

Both Dr. De La Hay and Mr. Armstrong noted that the conference will assist health care professionals in their understanding of and treatment of Sickle Cell Disease. The presentations included: Management of Acute Pain in the ER in Children with Sickle Cell Disease

Facing Life With Sickle Cell Disease

The Dynamic Physical Therapy Management of Sickle Cell Disease

Sickle Cell Retinopathy

Sickle Cell Disease at Bustamante Hospital for Children:

Anaesthetic and Surgical Outcomes

Upper Airway Obstruction in the Child with Sickle Cell Disease

Pulmonary Complication of Sickle Cell Disease

Hydroxyurea– The Jamaican Experience

Case Discussion– Sickle Nephropathy

Case Discussion-- Neurological Complications of Acute Chest Syndrome

Differentiating Vaso-occlusive Crisis from Osteomyelitis

Joint Statement from Chairman of SERHA and Senior Medical Officer of the Victoria Jubilee Hospital re Gleaner Article

The Gleaner article published on Sunday October 30, 2016 under the headline ‘Somebody Lied, 26 Babies Died’ is irresponsible, inaccurate and an absolute misrepresentation. Furthermore, the article seeks to undermine the integrity of the Ministry of Health, the committee formed to investigate the cluster cases of GBS related deaths and healthcare professionals at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital.

The committee report which was issued to the media and posted online, fully disclosed the following facts:

Monthly neonatal deaths between the period January - September 2016 ,which showed 29 neonatal deaths between the months of August - September 2016 (page 8)

Of the 29 neonatal deaths, 4 were confirmed to be death by GBS infection ( page 1)

Asafa Powell Foundation Donates $500K to KPH

The Asafa Powell Foundation presented a cheque valued at $560,000 to the Kingston Public Hospital on Friday, October 28, 2016.

The money was raised through a crowd sourcing initiative that was launched in 2014. Asafa Powell, one of the world’s fastest humans with 98 sub-10 100m runs, matched the donations raised via Indiegogo and also contributed part of the monies received for his participation in this year’s Olympics.

"I am really happy for the opportunity to show my support and give back to my country. We started a Spread A Bed funding for the hospital and I said I would match whatever donations were made. Some came out of my pocket and some were donated from the public,"Powell said. "The reception I got from people was really tremendous. I think we cut it off a bit early or else it would be even more.”

Mr. Ruel Rainford, Deputy CEO, KPH/VJH in expressing his gratitude on behalf of the hospital said “we are truly grateful for this donation from the Asafa Powell Foundation and we know that it will go a far way in not only improving health care delivery, but enhancing the comfort level for our patients".

SERHA Mourns Death of Dr. Martin Garwood

The South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) family is deeply saddened by the gruesome murder of Dr. Martin Garwood, a Medical Officer at the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH).

Dr. Gardwood began working at KPH January 5, 2016 and was assigned to the Department of Surgery. He was in the final process of completing the Doctor of Medicine Post Graduate Programme During his tenure at KPH, Dr. Garwood was found to be a committed and diligent physician who went above and beyond the call of duty for his patients and colleagues. He will truly be missed.

The Region offers sincerest condolences to Dr. Garwood’s family and our prayers are with them during their time of grief.

We appeal to anyone who may have information about his murder to cooperate with the police so that Dr. Garwood’s killer(s) can be brought to justice.

KPH Hosts 9th Annual Clinical and Scientific Conference

The Kingston Public Hospital hosted its Ninth Annual Clinical and Scientific Conference on Sunday, October 23, 2016 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.

The conference was held under the theme "The Kingston Public Hospital, Celebrating 240 Years of Excellence, A Legacy of Healing the Nation", in recognition of the hospital’s 240th anniversary, which is being celebrated this year.

Speaking during the opening of the conference, Mr. Philip Armstrong, SERHA Board Chairman said KPH has stood as the epitome of health care for the people of Jamaica for over two centuries, which is a remarkable milestone.

History of Ophthalmology at KPH

Thyroid Disease, a paradigm shift

Breast Cancer at KPH

Depression in Diabetic Patients at an out-patient clinic at KPH

Hand infections at KPH

Management of Keloids, the KPH experience

Facio- Maxillary- Common Oral Legions

Dr. Delroy Jefferson, Medical Director of the Cayman Islands

Health Services Authority was the special guest speaker.

Minister of Health Tours Victoria Jubilee Hospital

The Minister of Health, Dr. Christopher Tufton toured the Victoria Jubilee Hospital on Wednesday, October 19, 2016. Dr. Tufton explained that the tour was aimed at getting a first-hand view of the operations at that facility. He visited the Neonatal Care Unit, the Labour, Surgical and Gynaecology Wards.

"As it relates to Victoria Jubilee, I am satisfied that the staff here are committed to what they do based on the feedback that I have had, certainly from patients that have interacted with me,” he said “They go, very often, beyond the call of duty to achieve the excellent reputation and success they have had in terms of mortality rate, in terms of treating particular conditions…"


Dr. Tufton who was speaking with reporters following the tour, said the Ministry of Health will continue to work with the hospital to see how it can strengthen what already exists as well as improve the conditions to ensure quality service.

He noted that VJH is a facility that is “one of a kind in the region” and is the largest the region with over 250 health care staff and between 8,000 and 10,000 deliveries annually.

KPH to Host 9th Annual Clinical and Scientific Conference

The Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) is slated to host its ninth Annual Clinical and Scientific Conference on Sunday, October 23, 2016 starting at 7:30 a.m. at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston. The conference is being held under the theme “The Kingston Public Hospital, Celebrating 240 Years of Excellence, A Legacy of Healing the Nation”, in recognition of the hospital’s 240th anniversary, which is being celebrated this year.

Public institutional medicine was first established in Jamaica with the opening of the KPH on December 14, 1776. This year’s conference is aimed at highlighting the diverse levels of research and health care services provided at KPH. The special guest speaker will be Dr. Delroy Jefferson, Medical Director of the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority, Consultant Anaesthesiologist and Intensive Care Specialist and Doctor of Business Administration and Management/Medical Tourism.

The topics that will be covered at the conference include:

  1. History of Ophthalmology at KPH
  2. Thyroid Disease, a paradigm shift
  3. Breast Cancer at KPH
  4. Depression in Diabetic Patients at an out-patient clinic at KPH
  5. Hand infections at KPH
  6. Management of Keloids, the KPH experience
  7. Facio- Maxillary- Common Oral Legions

Report on Cluster of Cases of Group B Strep Infections VJH

The Ministry of Health held a press conference today, October 13, 2016 to address concerns relating to Group B Streptococcus Infections at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital. Click here to view the report compiled by the Committee that was established to review the matter.

Mental Health Week Celebrations Launched

The Kingston Public and Victoria Jubilee Hospitals Mental Health Committee officially launched Mental Health Week on Monday, October 10, 2016. Mental Health Week is being observed under the theme “A Legacy of Healing the Nation: Dignity in Mental and Physiological Health “First Aid for All”. During the launch, Mrs. Lisa Soares Lewis, SERHA Board Director who spoke on behalf of SERHA Board Chairman, Mr. Philip Armstrong noted that the World Health Organisation has highlighted the fact that mental illnesses are themselves risk factors that affect the incidence and prognosis of diseases traditionally classified as “non-communicable”.

“….it is event that mental health is an integral and essential component of health, indeed, as it has been famously stated worldwide, there is no good health without mental health,” she said, adding that SERHA has been making a steady effort to improve service delivery to mental health patients at KPH with the increase in the number of Psychiatric Aides and Psychiatrists.

She further noted that the mental health team at KPH “works under challenging circumstances given the nature of the job and so we want say a special thank you to them for the work they have been doing to deliver health care to the mentally ill who are arguable one of the most marginalised people in the society”.

Additionally, a plaque was unveiled during the launch as part of the activities to mark the 240th Anniversary of the Kingston Public Hospital. KPH began as an asylum for mentally ill slaves in 1776.

Past and present members of staff were also presented with awards in recognition of their contribution to the Mental Health Services at KPH.

Among the activities to commemorate Mental Health Week at KPH are educational talks for patients that will focus on topics such as: Sleep and Mental Health Nutrition and Mental Health Exercise and Mental Health Psychological Health for Children Psychological Health for Adults

SERHA Commemorates Breastfeeding Week

The South East Regional Health Authority hosted two major activities to mark Breastfeeding Week which is observed September 20-26, 2016 this year.

A panel discussion was held at the Olympic Gardens Civic Centre in Kingston on Wednesday, September 21, 2016. The panellists consisted of four men, who shared their experiences as it relates to providing support for breastfeeding mothers. The audience was also given an opportunity to ask questions. In addition, a booth was set up to provide information about the benefits of breastfeeding among other things. In St. Catherine, a training was held at the Women’s Centre Foundation of Jamaica with goal of providing the skills for the young mothers to breastfeed optimally. There was also a quiz completion.

New Fluoroscopy Unit Commissioned at Bustamante Hospital for Children

Minister of Health, Dr. Hon. Christopher Tufton officially commissioned a new fluoroscopy unit at the Bustamante Hospital for Children on September 8, 2016. The unit was purchased at installed at a cost of $68.5 Million.

The unit, which is the second of its kind in the public health sector, was purchased through funding from the National Health Fund. A fluoroscopy unit consists of a specialised X-ray machine that produces real-time moving images that can be viewed on a TV-type monitor. It will assist in diagnosing problems that affect the inner organs, such as the stomach, intestines, kidneys and bladder. Speaking during the official commissioning ceremony Dr. Tufton, said the equipment will assist in the Government’s drive to improve the quality and delivery of healthcare in Jamaica. He also noted that since the start of the year, some 30,501 X-rays have been done at the Bustamante Hospital for Children, which represents an increase when compared to the 21,516 x-rays done between January and December last year.

For his part, Mr. Philip Armstrong, SERHA’s Board Chairman said the new unit has enabled the hospital to not only provide improved diagnostic services, but has also reduced the waiting time for patients. The unit is expected to reduce the processing time for X-rays from 90 to 15 minutes.

"I am very pleased that the diagnostic services at the island’s only Paediatric Hospital have been improved with the installation of the Fluoroscopy Unit. I have no doubt that it will make a difference in the quality of service provided to our young patients," he said.

SERHA Purchases New Air Conditioning Unit for Main Operating Theatre at KPH

The South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) has purchased a 230 Ton Chilled Water Air Conditioning Unit for the Main Operating Theatre Suite at the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH). The Unit, which is expected to arrive in the island on or before September 30, 2016, was purchased at a cost of $25.8 Million through funding from the Ministry of Science Energy and Technology. It is expected to provide greater air circulation to the Main Operating Theatre Suite, which consists of four theatres and two recovery rooms. It will also reduce the risk of infection and down time significantly as well as delays for surgery.

Additionally, the new unit will also serve the Accident Emergency and Emergency X-ray Departments which are located in the same building. It will replace an existing unit that has become non-functional and has caused delays in the elective surgeries. The Region apologises for any inconvenience that may be caused as a result of the malfunctioning unit in the interim. Every effort will be made to install the new unit in a timely manner to ensure the continuity of surgical services at KPH.

SERHA Implements Measures to Reduce Waiting Time at Bustamante Hospital for Children’s Accident and Emergency Department

The South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) has implemented measures to reduce the waiting time for patients in the Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department at the Bustamante Hospital for Children (BHC).

Mr. Philip Armstrong, SERHA’s Board Chairman said the hospital’s A&E Department has been reconfigured to better facilitate the assessment of patients and to improve customer service. He further noted that this initiative forms part of the Ministry of Health’s mandate to reduce waiting in the public health facilities.

“We have expanded the triage (assessment) area to facilitate an additional doctor. This means that more patients can be assessed at an increased rate, which is expected to reduce the length of time patients have to wait,” Mr. Armstrong explained. “We are also working to improve customer service in that department with the expansion of the customer service area as well as the addition of six customer service representatives to assist patients on a 24-hour basis.”

Additionally, Mr. Armstrong noted that the hospital centralised its out-patient services. “The main registration desk is located in the accident and emergency department and so what we have done is to create a separate registration area for out-patients in the out patient department. This will free up more space for patients registering in the A&E and will reduce waiting time,” he said. Mr. Armstrong also added that a computerised system is being implemented to track the time frame within which patients are seen by the triage doctor with the goal of implementing additional measures, where possible, to further reduce the waiting time in the Accident and Emergency Department.

SERHA Hosts Zika Virus Town Hall Meeting

The St. Thomas Health Services hosted a Town Hall Meeting at the Nazareth Assembly Hall in Dalvey, St. Thomas on Wednesday, August 24, 2016.The Town Hall Meeting is part of the Ministry of Health’s Phase Two response to the Zika Virus, which is geared towards strengthening community intervention.

The presentations made during the meeting were aimed at educating the residents about preventing vector bourne illness such as the Zika Virus, and reducing the breeding sites for Aedes aegypti mosquito in the community, and in and around the home. Additionally, the residents were given useful information about Microcephaly and Guillain Barre Syndrome.

Six Patients Receive Scoliosis Surgery During Medical Mission at KPH

Six adolescents who suffer from scoliosis benefited from corrective surgery at the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) thanks to the generosity of the Duncan Tree Foundation. The Foundation, which conducted its eighth medical mission at KPH last week, is a US-based, non-profit organization, serving the health needs of the poor and vulnerable in selected countries like Jamaica.

The Foundation donates the instruments required for each surgery, which is valued at US$200,000. “The South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) and the Kingston Public Hospital, by extension, is extremely grateful to the Duncan Tree Foundation for its continued support in providing surgical intervention for young patients who are affected by scoliosis,” Mr. Philip Armstrong, SERHA’s Board Chairman said. “I am pleased that these youngsters who received surgery will be given the opportunity to lead a better quality of life.”

Since 2012, the Duncan Tree Foundation, through its volunteers, has partnered with local medical teams at KPH and Cornwall Regional Hospital to conduct 81 scoliosis surgeries. The team conducted four surgeries at the Cornwall Regional Hospital from June 23-28, 2016 before commencing at KPH on June 30, 2016 and ending on July 2, 2016.

MOU to Establish Paediatric Heart Centre Signed

Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton and senior representatives from the South East Regional Health Authority signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Chain of Hope UK and multiple stakeholders for the establishment of the Jamaica Children’s Heart Centre at the Bustamante Hospital for Children in Kingston. The cardiac facility, which is being established at a cost of US$10 Million is expected to be completed this year.  It will provide specialist cardiac care, free of cost, to children between the ages of zero to 12 years. It is anticipated that the new centre will facilitate at least 150 cardiac surgeries.

During the ceremony held on June 21, 2016, Hon. Dr Tufton, said the event marked “another important milestone in Jamaica’s healthcare system”. He noted that the establishment of the centre will see many children accessing better cardiac care and more cardiac surgeries and treatment. The Minister further noted that centre is being established based on the great demand for paediatric cardiac care and treatment in Jamaica. Noting that the hospital’s intensive care unit at the Bustamante Hospital only has five beds, he said the new cardiac centre will provide 10 ICU beds dedicated to cardiac patients.

Meanwhile, Mr. Philip Armstrong, Board Chairman for SERHA said the MoU signing meant that the hospital was as a “step closer to opening the first paediatric cardiac centre in Jamaica and possibly the Caribbean”. Noting that the demand for cardiac services is tremendous, Mr. Armstrong said the hospital has worked assiduously to provide the best quality care for patients.  He added that the establishment of the centre will further strengthen the hospital’s capacity to better serve these patients. “The cardiac centre aims to provide children with the most effective cardiac care in the world. It is my hope that the centre will play a more integral role in improving the quality of the outcomes of our paediatric cardiac patients, while striving to reduce significantly the waiting list for surgical interventions and reducing the impact of congenital heart disease in Jamaica,” he said.

In the meantime, Chief Executive Officer, Chain of Hope United Kingdom (UK), Emma Scanlan, thanked the Health Ministry for bringing the centre “back to life”, and committed to working in harmony with the stakeholders to create a much needed service for the betterment of the children of Jamaica. The partners involved in the project include Chain of Hope United Kingdom (UK), Chain of Hope Jamaica, Digicel Jamaica, Sagicor Investments Limited, Gift of Life District 7020, the Caribbean Heart Menders Association, the National Health Fund, the Cardiac Kids Foundation of Florida, the Congenital Heart Institute of Florida, the Jamaica Children’s Heart Fund and the Shaggy Make a Difference Foundation.

Victoria Jubilee Hospital Receives Equipment from Nurses Association of Jamaica UK Chapter

The Nurses Association of Jamaica (NAJ), UK Chapter donated a delivery bed and two Cardiotocograph (CTG) Machines to the Victoria Jubilee Hospital on Monday, June 20, 2016. The CTG Machine records the fetal heartbeat and the uterine contractions during pregnancy. The equipment is valued at $2.5 Million. Posing the with the equipment following the handing over ceremony at the hospital are (L-R) Pate-Ann Hamilton, Medical Link; Ms. Jacqueline Ellis, Acting Chief Executive Officer, Kingston Public and Victoria Jubilee Hospitals; Mrs. Elise Fairweather Blackwood (hidden), Acting Director of Nursing Services, Victoria Jubilee Hospital; Ms. Novelette McCoulsky, Acting Sister, Victoria Jubilee Hospital (VJH); Ms. Paulette Lewis, President, NAJ, UK Chapter, Mrs. Janet Coore Farr, President, Nurses Association of Jamaica; Mrs. Patricia Crosby Josephs, Member, NAJ, UK Chapter; Mrs. Hyacinth Aitken Douglas, Acting Deputy Director of Nursing Services, VJH; Tiana Lawrence, patient at VJH and Dr. Garth McDonald, Consultant Obstetrics and Gyanecologist, VJH

Emergency Surgery Services Resume at Princess Margaret Hospital Today

The Operating Theatre at the Princess Margaret Hospital in St. Thomas resumed offering emergency services today (Thursday, May 12, 2016). The theatre which was closed on May 2, 2016 due to a fire will also resume elective services on Tuesday, May 17, 2016. The Board and Management of the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) would like to thank the maintenance team who worked assiduously over the past week to complete the refurbishment of the area, which was damaged by the fire.

Fogging Schedule for Kingston and St. Andrew, St. Catherine and St. Thomas

SERHA Saddened by Passing of Dr. Denise Duncan Goffe

The management and staff of the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) mourn the loss of Dr. Denise Duncan Goffe. We would like to express our heartfelt condolences to her family and our prayers are with them during this difficult time of bereavement. Dr. Duncan Goffe joined SERHA’s Regional Technical Department as Clinical Quality Assurance Officer over a year ago after retiring from her position as Director of Health Service Planning and Integration in the Ministry of Health in 2014. She played an invaluable role in the Region’s efforts to continuously improve and maintain high quality health care service delivery to the public. She will be greatly missed and her tremendous and dedicated service to the public health sector, which spans over 30 years, will not be forgotten.

SERHA Urges the Public to be Vigilant Against Influenza Virus and Vector Borne illnesses

he public is being urged to be vigilant in taking the necessary precaution to prevent the Influenza Virus and vector borne illnesses such as Dengue Fever, Chikungunya and the Zika Virus.

“We continue to urge persons to take steps to protect themselves from these illnesses. The symptoms for these viruses are similar and so I am encourage person who experience flu-like illnesses especially with respiratory symptoms to visit their doctor or the nearest health centre for early medical intervention,” Dr. Andrei Cooke, Board Chairman, South East Regional Health Authority said. “Pregnant women and persons with chronic illnesses should seek medical attention immediately.” .

SERHA Condemns Threats Against VJH Nurses

The South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) is condemning threats being made against nurses at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital (VJH) following an article published in the Jamaica Star Newspaper on February 5, 2016 which alleged that twin babes were delivered by a patient at the hospital and one was taken.

The nurses are an integral part of the health team at VJH and must not feel threatened in any way while they carry out their duties. The Region is urging the persons who are engaged in inciting violence against the nurses to desist from this kind of behaviour, which has left the VJH nursing staff concerned for their safety.

SERHA Temporarily Suspends Surgical and Diagnostic Services at the Princess Margaret Hospital Due to Fire at the Facility

The South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) wishes to advise the public that elective surgeries at the Princess Margaret Hospital in St. Thomas have been temporarily suspended due to a fire in the operating theatre at the facility this morning. Preliminary reports indicate that the fire started at approximately 2:00 a.m. in the operating theatre. The laboratory and X-Ray Departments which are located directly below the operating theatre were affected by water damage.

Critical Equipment purchased for hospitals

The South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) has purchased 27 patient monitors and eight ventilators valued at $38.9 Million. These equipment are expected to improve patient care delivery particularly patients who are critically ill. This is the first time the Region has purchase such a large quantity of these types of equipment. They have been distributed to seven hospitals across the Region including the Bustamante Hospital for Children, Kingston Public and Victoria Hospitals, Princess Margret, National Chest and Linstead Hospitals.


Sydenham Health Centre Renovated

Patients are expected to enjoy improved health care service delivery and security with the recent renovation of the Sydenham Health Centre in St. Catherine. The project which is valued at approximately $5.8 Million was a joint venture between South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) and the Sugar Transformation Unit through the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and the European Union.

Princess Margaret Hospital A & E Department Relocated

Effective Sunday, January 17, 2016, the Accident and Emergency Department at the Princess Margaret Hospital in St. Thomas has been relocated to facilitate the renovation and expansion of the department.The public will now access accident and emergency services in the former Health Department building on the hospital grounds. Directional signs are being mounted to assist patients and visitors with finding the new location.