Jamaica opens first Cardiac Centre in the Region

Kingston, Jamaica. April 15, 2019: Jamaica officially opened the English-speaking Caribbean’s first state-of-the-art Paediatric Cardiac Centre at the Bustamante Hospital for Children on Monday, April 15. The Centre is designed to offer full surgical and after-care cardiac services for children. It boasts a 10-bed Intensive Care unit, an Operating theatre and a Biplane Catheterization laboratory and has the potential to conduct up to 220 cardiac procedures annually.  The centre will also provide the opportunity for specialised training of surgeons, nurses and other paediatric cardiac personnel, as well as conduct research.

Through a partnership, the Ministry of Health, the National Health Fund (NHF) and various non-profit organisations, including Chain of Hope, Gift of Life International, Digicel Foundation, Rotary International, Shaggy Make a Difference Foundation, Congenital Heart Institute of Florida and Caribbean Heart Menders Association, children born with congenital heart disease will be able to have corrective surgery at this new US$5M Paediatric Cardiac Centre.

In delivering the main address and officially opening the centre, Health Minister, Dr. Christopher Tufton noted that “There is no success in public health without partnership. Today’s ceremony is again a great example of partnership at work. The Government, with the help of a number of stakeholders, has made significant investments in staffing, training and development, medical supplies and pharmaceuticals and the erection of a building dedicated to cardiac services, which we officially open today.” 

Approximately 400 children are born each year in Jamaica with congenital heart disease, half of whom will need some form of corrective procedure, either by open heart surgery or catheter interventions. Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) is also still prevalent and contributes to the pool of patients requiring cardiac intervention.

Since 2017, a total of 83 cardiac surgeries and catheterization cases have been completed at the facility and it is estimated that over 180 paediatric patients are presently awaiting surgery in Jamaica.