STEPHEN Josephs, projects manager of the Sanmerna Foundation, has lauded the Government for demonstrating that it is serious about ensuring Jamaica has its own facilities to treat people who receive severe burns.
“Certainly, as a foundation, we are very happy that the Government and everyone involved is actually moving in the right direction to make this a reality,” Josephs told the Jamaica Observer on Tuesday.
For a while now the Sanmerna Foundation has been championing the cause to have the Government construct a facility that would help to prevent people dying or having to be sent overseas after being burnt in fires.
Currently, the country does not have the capacity to treat severe cases of burns and, therefore, a number of people who did not have to die lost their lives. Those who managed to survive remained alive only after being flown overseas for surgery and care.
Local oil refinery Petrojam, which falls under the control of the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology, made a commitment last year that it would step up to the plate to raise funds for the construction of a burn unit in Jamaica. On Tuesday evening, Petrojam hosted a fund-raising dinner at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in St Andrew that will go towards construction of the facility, which will be located at the University Hospital of the West Indies. The aim is to raise roughly $200 million.
Earlier this month, Telroy Morgan, the incoming general manager of Petrojam, told a local television talk show host that Petrojam sees the construction of a burn unit as “very, very important to the entire nation”.
“It is in that regard that we are very excited about donating and ensuring that a facility is in place to serve the entire Jamaica that would be of world standard, both from a design implementation and operational perspective. I underscore operational because oftentimes projects are implemented and the aspect of sustaining the facility, either through training of the technical personnel and the preventative and predictive maintenance aspects, are not kept on track. Those are very critical and we want to ensure that we have a fit-for-purpose and First World standard facility in place,” he said.