Good afternoon.

This is the only time of year when Lady Allen can rest assured that I shall accompany her on a visit to the Bustamante Children’s Hospital. I hope you understand that when Lady visits with the children on Monday afternoons, she not only enjoys my full support, but she beautifully represents the care and concern we both feel for this paediatric hospital of which Jamaica can be justifiably proud.

  • Since 1963, this specialist hospital, the only one of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean, has been providing a range of diagnostic, preventative, curative, rehabilitative and ambulatory services in paediatric, medical and surgical specialties and sub-specialties.
  • Despite the constraints, including those related to space, as was highlighted recently in the media, the hospital has remained dedicated to service, in fulfillment of its mission to develop healthy people living in a healthy environment.
  • We acknowledge that in this difficult economic climate, our health services will not receive as much funding from the national budget as they actually need for optimal performance. This can be a source of frustration to all health professionals and administrative leadership of the health sector.
  • We therefore commend those individuals, groups and organizations, as well as the Friends of Bustamante Children’s Hospital, for the strong partnerships they have formed with this hospital. As Christmas approaches, we also commend those who from year to year have offered treats for the children. Let me encourage others to join them.
  • In the medical and surgical fields, the hospital has struck some very worthwhile partnerships, especially in the conduct of open-heart surgeries.
  • Of special note is the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2010 for the development of a cardiac programme in association with the Chain of Hope, Rotary, Gift of Life, Congenital Heart Institute and Heart Menders.
  • I am greatly encouraged by the specialized skills which are being transferred to our health professionals as a result of the experience gained from the Chain of Hope missions. I congratulate the two doctors and fifteen Registered Nurses who have been part of the local counterpart team and who now conduct a minimum of two open-heart surgeries per week.
  • I believe you will realize your vision to reduce the number and size of the cardiac missions to Jamaica and replace them with smaller mentoring and training missions, when the Digicel-funded Cardiac Centre is fully operationalized.
  • It is clear that the future of the Bustamante Children’s Hospital is secure. I say this based on the persistence with which the hospital has approached quality health care and service delivery in the past, your commitment to serving our children, and your status as the only specialized pediatric hospital in the English-speaking Caribbean. You have won the confidence and loyalty of your partners. You continue responding effectively, even within the known limitations.
  • The care that you give our children especially at Christmas, when you would otherwise have been with your family, is highly appreciated.
  • As nation we are judged by how we treat our children. We must ensure that we treat them fairly and justly, and that we provide for them a caring and safe environment in which they can enjoy their childhood and grow to become healthy, balanced, productive adults. It is they who will provide leadership over the next fifty years. How we treat them will determine the future security and prosperity of our country.
  • Thank you all for the service you give to Jamaica and for the many lives you have changed for the better through that service.
  • Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year and “May God bless us everyone”!