The Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Most Honorable Andrew Holness officially reopened the Nuclear Medicine Unit at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) in a ceremony held on Thursday, June 30, 2022. The Prime Minister welcomed this important advanced technology which is now available in the public health sector and praised the partnership between the International Atomic Agency, the Ministry of Health and Wellness, the Planning Institute of Jamaica, the University of the West Indies and the UHWI which made it possible.


The reopening of a Nuclear Medicine Unit which is located within the Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology will play a vital role in improving the diagnosis and management of non-communicable diseases including cancers and cardiac diseases. It will provide Single Photon Emission Computerized Tomography (SPECT and SPECT/CT) studies which are the most frequent nuclear medicine investigations specifically aimed to support the diagnosis and treatment of these diseases and other frequent pathologies in the country.
Mr. Kevin Allen, CEO, at the UHWI, in his remarks indicated that nuclear medicine treatment is a crucial part of the fight against cancer, but, in Jamaica, only a few private sector organizations offer the services needed. “In Jamaica, a few private sector organizations offer these services but at an exuberant cost and the average Jamaican is unable to afford it. Therefore, having the Nuclear Medicine Unit at the University Hospital, a government institution, means that all members of the population will have access to this advanced type of medical care at a fraction of the cost.” Meanwhile, the Medical Chief of Staff at the UHWI, Dr. Carl Bruce, thanked the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for their generous assistance in reopening the Nuclear Medicine Division and spoke about some of its capabilities. “The Single Photon Emission Computerized Tomography (SPECT) will advance care and will integrate what we do here at our quaternary institution in providing critical and advanced care for the people of the region and Jamaica. It is the single most important investigation in staging breast cancer, which as you know is something that we have strategically decided to take on, not only in supporting prevention but for those who have all these chronic diseases including breast cancer. We are the institution for providing care when we cannot prevent them.” Mr. Hua Liu Deputy Director-General, Head of the Department of Technical Cooperation, IAEA highlighted that the IAEA was delighted to participate in the opening ceremony to mark the reopening of the unit and celebrate the relationship formed. “I would like to express my appreciation to the government of Jamaica and Jamaica international institutions for their excellent cooperation. The IAEA Technical Operation Programme has supported Jamaica to address non-communicable diseases with the provision of a modern Nuclear SPECT/CT Gamma Camera. Together with radiopharmacy and quality control equipment. The IAEA has also provided long-term training to essential staff to ensure safe and effective operation.”

Sharing in the ceremony with the Prime Minister who was Keynote Speaker were Mr. Mark Golding, Opposition Leader, Dr Morais Guy, Member of Parliament and Opposition Spokesman on Health and Dr Wayne Henry, Chairman and Director General, Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ).

The project is a massive undertaking with officials of the University of the West Indies, Mona, the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The refurbishing of the building is projected at $J124.3 million and the equipment for the unit is J$102 million.