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AC upgrade to save May Pen Hospital $5.2 million yearly

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A $73 million air conditioning overhaul carried out at the May Pen Hospital in Clarendon by the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) is expected to reduce electricity consumption for cooling by 20 per cent and shave approximately $5.2 million off the facility’s annual electricity spend.

The project was completed under the PCJ’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Programme , which finances investments in energy efficiency and energy conservation measures in the public sector.

The multifacetted intervention involved the installation of a modern, energy efficient cooling system which utilises a rooftop packaged system design at the Accident and Emergency Department, ensuring that this section of the facility meets the compliance standards for fresh air. Another cooling system was deployed at the offices of the Clarendon Health Department which are located on the hospital compound. The aforementioned system was equipped with a variable refrigerant flow, which maximises efficiency by adjusting the level of cooling according to building use and temperature conditions.

In addition, modifications were made to the chill water air conditioning system serving the general hospital area. The changes included upgrading the pumps with variable speed controllers, replacing the legacy air handlers with premium variable speed motors and the implementation of web-enabled, remote monitoring capability through a state-of-the-art building management system.

The successful completion of the project was marked by a handing-over ceremony which was held at the hospital yesterday.

Addressing the event, Brian Richardson, the PCJ’s acting group general manager said, “We anticipate that the upgrades to the existing infrastructure and the new solutions installed will reduce electricity usage at the hospital which should lower operational expenses. Also, we know that the improvements to the air conditioning have made for a more comfortable environment for the patients and a more productive workspace for the staff.”

CEO of the May Pen Hospital, St Andrade Sinclair said: “We are sincerely grateful for this monumental opportunity to improve the energy needs of the May Pen Hospital. We have come a far way and, it’s no doubt uncharted waters; but, already we are seeing benefits with an environmentally friendly atmosphere for both patients and staff. We are happy for the improvements and hope this example will encourage NGO’s, the private sector, and members of our diaspora to follow suit and contribute to our hospitals and clinics.”

Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Fayval Williams, who delivered the keynote address at the ceremony, indicated that several similar projects would be undertaken in the current fiscal year as the Government of Jamaica continues to take a leading role in energy conservation.

“In 2019/20 the Ministry of Energy, through its agency, the PCJ, will be carrying out energy interventions at schools, hospitals, health centres and other public facilities across the country with a cumulative value of more than $1 billion, which not only reduce the national spend on energy, but will also allow us to extract more value out of every kilowatt of energy used at public sector facilities,” she said.

To ensure the sustainability of the investment at the May Pen Hospital, there is a five-year service and maintenance contract to ensure the preservation of the equipment. In addition, energy efficiency training has been provided to enable the hospital’s property management personnel and other members of staff to devise and implement conservation measures.

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PNP denies claims of shouting match at executive meeting

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — General Secretary of the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP), Julian Robinson is refuting reports in sections of the media that last night’s meeting of the Executive Committee was characterised by tension and a shouting match between competing camps.

Robinson, in a statement this afternoon, made particular note of Nationwide News Network (NNN) saying the claims are “completely false”.

The general secretary also noted that there also claims that Party President, Dr Peter Phillips was in attendance, which is also false.

“Dr Phillips did not attend last night’s meeting as he had an engagement in his constituency and had asked to be excused.

“Nationwide News erroneously claimed that the meeting ended abruptly without a decision,” Robinson said, stressing that the meeting was adjourned appropriately and that there was no shouting match between anyone during the meeting or after the adjournment.

“We are very aware that there are elements in the media that would like to see an open brawl in the current context, between the contending sides, to enhance their news story but all such claims are false or fake.  The situation described by NNN is totally inaccurate – fake news,” he said.

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WHO offers global plan to fight superbugs

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Geneva, Switzerland (AFP) — The World Health Organization (WHO) launched a global campaign Tuesday to curb the spread of antibiotic resistant germs through safer and more effective use of the life-saving drugs.

The UN health agency said it had developed a classification system listing which antibiotics to use for the most common infections and which for the most serious ones, which drugs should be available at all times, and which should be used as a last resort only.

The aim is to prevent antibiotic resistance, which happens when bugs become immune to existing drugs, rendering minor injuries and common infections potentially deadly.

Such resistance can develop naturally, but overuse and misuse of the drugs dramatically speeds up the process.

“Antimicrobial resistance is an invisible pandemic,” WHO assistant director-general for access to medicines, Mariangela Simao, said in a statement.

“We are already starting to see signs of a post-antibiotic era, with the emergence of infections that are untreatable by all classes of antibiotics,” she said.

Discovered in the 1920s, antibiotics have saved tens of millions of lives by defeating bacterial diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis and meningitis.

But over the decades, bacteria have learned to fight back, building resistance to the same drugs that once reliably vanquished them — turning into so-called “superbugs”.

– ‘Urgent’ health risk –

The WHO campaign pointed to numbers from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development estimating that some 2.4 million people could die over the next 30 years in Europe, North America and Australia due to superbug infections.

According to a recent report by the International Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance, more than 50 percent of antibiotics in many countries are used inappropriately.

This includes antibiotics, which work only against bacterial infections, prescribed to treat viruses.

At the same time, many low- and middle-income countries see vast gaps in access to effective and appropriate antibiotics.

Nearly one million children die each year from pneumonia that could have been treated if they had access to antibiotics, WHO pointed out.

The UN health agency’s new classification, which it dubbed AWaRe, splits antibiotics into three categories: Access, Watch and Reserve.

The campaign aims to have drugs in the basic Access category make up at least 60 percent of total antibiotic consumption, while reducing use of drugs in the other categories, to be reserved for cases where other antibiotics have failed.

Using antibiotics in the Access group lowers the risk of resistance because they are so-called “narrow-spectrum” drugs, meaning they target a specific bacteria rather than several, the WHO explained.

They are also less costly, it said.

But the body warned that only 65 countries in the world collect data on their antibiotic use, and fewer than half of those — almost all in Europe — meet the 60-percent goal.

“Antimicrobial resistance is one of the most urgent health risks of our time and threatens to undo a century of medical progress,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in Tuesday’s statement.

“All countries must strike a balance between ensuring access to life-saving antibiotics and slowing drug resistance by reserving the use of some antibiotics for the hardest-to-treat infections,” he said.

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Overcrowding and abuse

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TAPACHULA, Mexico (AP) — The 36-year-old Cuban mechanic’s eyes glazed over as he recalled his time at the Siglo XXI holding facility: 50 people sleeping in 9-by-12-foot pens, faeces overflowing the latrines, food and water always scarce.Women slept in hallways or in the dining hall among rats, cockroaches and pigeon droppings, as children wailed, mothers reused diapers and guards treated everyone with contempt.

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