Amid an urgent cry for more beds in Jamaica’s public hospitals, the Seventh-day Adventist Church gave a much-needed boost of 40 hospital beds to Jamaica’s Ministry of Health at an estimated cost of US$120,000. The handover ceremony took place at the Good Samaritan Inn (GSI) in Kingston on December 12.
The initiative took place on behalf of the AdventHealth hospital network; the board of governors, administration, and staff of Andrews Memorial Hospital; and church leaders, including hospital board chair Everett Brown. The GSI Foundation Jamaica, the charity arm of the Adventist Church in Jamaica, which served to get the beds into the country, was also involved.
“We present 40 fully functioning patient beds to the Ministry of Health and Wellness, for the benefit to the Spanish Town and Maypen hospitals and the National Healthcare Advancement Foundation,” Donmayne Gyles, president of Andrews Memorial Hospital, said during the handover ceremony.
The AdventHealth Hospital Network, a U.S. non-profit, faith-based health care system with 53 hospitals and headquarters near Orlando, Florida, partnered with Jamaica’s Adventist-run Andrews Memorial Hospital and the GSI Foundation. Christopher Tufton, Jamaica’s minister of Health and Wellness, attended the ceremony to receive the gifts.
“Through the gift of these hospital beds, we pray that the patients who receive care at your institutions will receive comfort during their time of recovery,” Gyles read in a message from Audrey Gregory, CEO of AdventHealth East Florida Division, and Monty Jacobs, director of AdventHealth Global Missions.
“It is through projects like this, working together, that we fulfill our mission and improve the quality of care for those who are sick,” Gyles went on. “We look forward to continuing to work with Andrews Memorial Hospital on future projects to benefit the people of Jamaica.”
In giving thanks, Minister Tufton praised AdventHealth, Andrews Memorial Hospital, and the GSI Foundation for the much-needed donation “This may seem simple. It has more to do with just 40 beds,” he said. “The beds we have received are much more expensive than the ones [we have]; they offer many more functionalities that are important for the treatment and care of patients.”
Minister Tufton further lauded the Adventist community for being loyal partners in collaborating and supporting the health ministry.
Gyles stated that Andrews Memorial Hospital and the Adventist Church community will continue supporting the Ministry of Health and Wellness efforts. “We are aligned with Vision 2030 National Outcome number 1 to achieve a healthy and stable population by increasing life expectancy higher than 76 years and increasing positive outcomes in the health sector,” he said. “In 2024, the Andrews Memorial Hospital celebrates 80 years of service to this island, Jamaica, and stands firm to its mission of extending Christ’s healing ministry.”
In reacting to the donation, Errol Greene, regional director of South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA), said he was elated. “If you had 100 beds, Spanish Town Hospital alone could take all of them, so I am very happy for the contribution. I am sure that they will go a long way in the comfort level of our patients,” he said.
Greene recalled that at the Spanish Town Hospital, “just yesterday, there were 100 persons just sitting in wheelchairs, waiting to be admitted because we didn’t have any beds. So, this will go a long way in making life a lot more comfortable.”
“I am beyond ecstatic!” said Ivanah Thomas, a physician from the May Pen hospital who was instrumental in collaborating with AdventHealth to have the beds shipped to Jamaica. “Just last week, I was drawing blood from a patient, and the little bed that the person was on was almost to the ground,” Thomas said. “I had to bend down to reach the patient. So, I am beyond ecstatic that this finally happened. Of course, May Pen could do well with all 40 beds. I am glad we are on board with this gift.”
A St. Catherine resident, Valrie Gordon, expressed delight in hearing about the donation. She recalls, “This year, my mother was transferred from the May Pen Hospital to the Spanish Town Hospital and had to wait three days before getting a bed, so this is a good move by the Seventh-day Adventist Church.”
The event ended with the cutting of ribbon signifying the official handing over, with the participation of church and hospital leaders.