Jamaica Information Service – The Japanese Government is providing $10 million (US$86,780) for the acquisition of a Digital Mobile C-Arm machine for the May Pen Hospital in Clarendon, which will strengthen the provision of orthopaedic surgeries at the facility.
A grant agreement for the procurement was signed on Thursday (December 6) by Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton; Ambassador of Japan to Jamaica Hiromasa Yamazaki; and Chief Executive Officer, May Pen Hospital, St. Andrade Sinclair, at the Ministry’s New Kingston offices.
The funds are being provided under Japan’s Grant Assistance for Grass-Roots Human Security Project.
The Digital Mobile C-Arm machine, which will be utilised by the Orthopaedic Department, is used for intra-operative imaging.
The device provides high-resolution X-ray images in real time, thus allowing the physician to monitor progress at any point during the operation and immediately make any corrections that may be required.
Consequently, the treatment results are better and patients recover more quickly. Hospitals benefit from cost savings through fewer follow-up operations and from minimised installation efforts.
Dr. Tufton said May Pen Hospital began offering orthopaedic surgeries last year, with the out-patient clinic commencing February 6, 2017 and in-patient service starting August 2, 2017.
He noted that the out-patient visits have increased significantly from eight patients at the start to as many as 105 patients seen in a clinic.
“Average outpatient visits number over 300 patients per month with inpatient admissions/referrals averaging 60 patients per month. In fact, between February 6, 2017 and the end of May this year, there have been more than 3,600 visits to the orthopaedic clinic. These patients would have otherwise had to be treated at the regional hospital in Mandeville,” Dr. Tufton said.
He noted that the use of intra-operative imaging is an integral part of orthopaedic surgical care and without the machine, patients have to be transferred to another public health care facility.
Dr. Tufton informed that the average number of cases on the emergency/urgent surgical waiting list requiring the use of a C-arm ranges between 60 and 80 patients per month at the Mandeville Regional Hospital and between 120 and 150 patients at the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH).
In addition, the average number of cases per month on the elective (non-emergency/urgent) waiting list is approximately 300 patients at KPH and 100 patients at Mandeville Regional Hospital.
“Approximately 40 per cent of the patients on both emergency/urgent and elective waiting lists at the Mandeville Regional Hospital are referred from the May Pen Hospital, and approximately 10 per cent of the patients on the elective and emergency/urgent case list of the KPH are May Pen Hospital patients,” Dr. Tufton noted.
“As a result of no C-arm at the facility, the surgical waiting list is up to two months in the event of emergency/urgent cases and up to two years for non-emergency cases,” he said.
The Health Minister said the acquisition of the machine will allow the May Pen Hospital to serve a greater population of patients and offer treatment for a wider range of diagnoses, with the intention to safeguard the best possible health outcomes for patients.
For his part, Mr. Yamazaki said as a result of the machine, the May Pen Hospital will have improved medical services and the welfare of patients will be enhanced.
“I believe that our assistance helps Jamaican people to live healthy in a better environment,” he said.
“Indeed, our commitment to assist in improving the health sector needs of Jamaica continues to be a core priority for the people and Government of Japan, and so as a responsible member of the global community we wholeheartedly support our latest health medical cooperation with the May Pen Hospital to serve the needs of the people of Jamaica,” he added.
The Grant Assistance for Grass-Roots Human Security Project is a small scale funding programme of the Government of Japan aimed at providing support for the people of Jamaica in the areas of poverty reduction, natural disaster response, education, health, gender issues, and the environment.