Dalton Laing, Gleaner Writer
The resort of Negril is to be gifted with a hospital by Howard University in the United States, which will fund the construction and operation of the hospital for 10 years.
“We will break ground before the end of this year for the hospital in Negril, and it is expected to be completed in about three and a half years,” said Winston Wellington, chairman of the Negril Education Environment Trust, during an interview at the Negril Health Centre, where a team of doctors was conducting a free medical camp.
Wellington told Western Focus that the Negril International Wellness Centre would have a 10-acre organic farm, and all the facilities of an international hospital. The centre would aim to reduce the number of patients that have to travel overseas for specific surgeries and procedures.
“This is going to be the best health centre in the Caribbean, and it will take care of at least 2,500 jobs,” he added.
Wellington also said that the hospital will have 100 beds, which would later increase to 250.
Wellington has put together a team that would manage the hospital, which would accommodate doctors both locally and overseas. Among the US-based doctors are a group of Jamaica-born doctors who have formed themselves into a group called Health Care for Every Living Person in Jamaica (HELPJA).
HELPJA was conceptualised out of the Caribbean Medical Mission that comprised doctors from all over the Caribbean who came together on a yearly basis to provide free health care to the region since 1996. The Jamaican doctors in the group decided to focus on their own country, hence the formation of HELPJA.
HELPJA is chaired by Dr Rudolph Willis, a family-health practitioner from New Jersey, who is also instrumental in the establishment of the hospital for Negril.
“Online, we are asking every Jamaican both at home and overseas to give us US$1, and we will have enough money to improve the health system in Jamaica,” Willis said.
“We will be able to build clinics and even hospitals, and Winston Wellington is putting together a team to build a hospital here in Negril so people will not have to run to Miami and elsewhere to get special care when this hospital is up and running because it’s going to be the best in the West Indies.”