Retired nurse donates land to Black River Hospital
Retired nurse Tatleen Vassell, who is now living overseas, had several options for a beneficiary of just over five hectares of land in St Elizabeth. However, she thought the land should serve the community so she donated it to the Black River Hospital.
A release from the Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA) said the land is valued at $8.6 million.
The land, which is located in Cheltenham, near New Market, was officially handed over on Tuesday at the hospital. SRHA said that, to date, it is one of the single largest donations to the hospital.
Acording to SRHA, it was an emotional Vassell who noted that because of the many blessings she has received, she was able to make the donation. She added that her family also has a long history of contributing to the hospital.
Parish manager for the St Elizabeth Health Services Sean Brissett said though the land is located some distance from the hospital, it will be factored into the hospital’s developmental plan. He noted that its use will be determined in short order.
"This donation is symbolic in many respects because others looking on and seeing this generosity will want to come on board. Health is everybody’s business because it is not if you are going to get unwell, it is a matter of when, so as administrators we are working hard to prepare a place, that will contribute to the well-being and comfort of citizens during that period," Brissett said.
For Southern Regional Health Authority Director of Operations and Maintenance Herschel Ismail, the donation is timely and important to the development of the hospital. She noted that because of financial constraints, public/private partnerships are very important to the health sector.
"As a health sector and a regional health authority, we welcome these partnerships. Today we salute our philanthropist, Ms Tatleen Vassell, and make the assurance that this parcel of land will be managed and utilised in such a way that the population of the parish of St Elizabeth and the adjoining districts will benefit through an improved delivery of health care," Ismail said.
Acting senior medical officer at the hospital, Dr Sheriff Imoru, in expressing gratitude to Vassell and her family, noted that the hospital, which serves the entire St Elizabeth, parts of Manchester, Westmoreland and St James, has greatly improved over the years and is now providing 24-hour service in several areas.
He noted that for this growth to continue, the involvement of the community is needed as the Government cannot do it alone. Dr Imoru urged people to contribute to the development of the hospital regardless of the size or value of the donation.