Jamaica’s first Interventional Suite at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) was officially opened, today (May 30).

The Interventional Suite has state-of-the-art equipment that enables specialist clinicians to perform minimally invasive tests and procedures to diagnose and treat some of the most complex cardiac cases and interventional patients.

The project began in 2018, with donations from the Ministry of Health and Wellness, National Health Fund (NHF), and the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund.

In his address at the ceremony, Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, said that Jamaica’s health sector should strive to always be on the cutting edge of technology.

“Events of this nature must be the norm and not the exception. It’s a special occasion, it’s an amazing achievement, but we should, in a very consistent way, strive to always be on the cutting edge,” Dr. Tufton said.

He pointed out that a third of all deaths in Jamaica is as a result of cardiovascular diseases.

“The health and lifestyle survey says one in three Jamaicans is hypertensive, which leads directly to this kind of condition, or series of conditions, which requires an intervention suite,” Dr. Tufton noted.

For his part, Chief Executive Officer of the NHF, Everton Anderson, informed that his organisation donated J$40 million towards the replacement of the Cardiac Catheterisation Lab at the UHWI.

“We currently have enrolled some 806,219 Jamaicans on the NHF programme. Of that amount, 146,740 are affected by vascular illnesses. As such, this is a most relevant project,” he stated.

Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Hon. Fayval Williams, also welcomed the state-of-the-art facility.

Meanwhile, Head, Cardiology Unit at the UHWI, Dr. Marilyn Lawrence-Wright, said the facility will help in the management of both acute and chronic diseases.

“We have been doing procedures in the suite for about seven weeks now and we have totalled approximately 80 cases. We do expect to probably go about 50 cases per week. That is what we are projecting going forward,” she said.

The suite costs US$2 million and the construction and infrastructure improvement, J$51.5 million.