Residents welcome health care expansion

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Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Christopher Tufton (left), addresses persons attending the Ministry’s St. James Town Hall Meeting at the Montego Bay Cultural Centre in Sam Sharpe Square on Thursday (February 6) at which it was disclosed that several health centres in St. James would be upgraded under an EU-funded programme.

Tricelle Powell – Intern

“We glad bag buss! Thank you, Thank you, thank you!” Elation could be felt across the room as the Chief Medical Officer for St. James, Dr. Marcia Johnson Campbell, proclaimed a vote of thanks to the Minister of Health and Wellness, the European Union’s Poverty Reduction Programme and the Jamaica Social Investment Fund last Thursday at the launch of the Health Care Expansion Programme, valued at US $154 million, set to significantly reshape the offerings of four health centres in St. James. The beauty of this project stems from the Ministry’s mission to impact the lives of over 1000 Jamaicans by providing holistic improvements to the community health centers in Adelphi, Barrett Town, Flanker and Granville. 

The programme is being implemented jointly with the European Union, which is providing the funding through a grant under its Poverty Reduction Programme that has, for the last 20 years, reconstructed the socioeconomic landscape of the country. Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska, head of the delegation of the European Union to Jamaica, highlighted that these upgrades will have significant impact as it will become easier for the less fortunate to grasp in hand notable health care. Emphasis was placed on a new holistic approach as these centers will extend to facilitate dental care and pharmaceutical services.

SCOPE OF WORK

Under the programme, each health centre will receive just over 38 million dollars to undertake rehabilitation work, which is expected to last for four months in each instant. The scope of work at the Adelphi Heath Centre will see the demolition of the existing structure and construction of four consultation rooms, two public health offices, registration and records office, dental office, four restrooms, pharmacy and construction of chain link among other developments.

Work on the Barrett Town Health Centre will include the rehabilitation of the main building, construction of a consultation room, office, records room, installation of ceiling, as well as retrofitting the facility for disability access.

Rehabilitation work at the Flanker Health Centre will see the construction of a mental health office, treatment room, demolition and re- construction of the existing roof, rehabilitation and expansion of three restrooms, among other things.

Under the multi-million-dollar project, the Granville Health Centre will benefit from the construction of three public health offices, two consultation rooms, treatment room, sterilization room, dental office, medical record office, rehabilitation of four restrooms as well as other work.

Minister Tufton, in his keynote address called attention to the changing health profile of the Jamaican population and the need to transform strategically the preventative and curative public health care system. He stated: “Healthy citizens are the greatest asset a country can have…the statistics show that one in three Jamaicans are hypertensive, one in eight diabetic and one in three obese, all of that data suggest a health profile that has changed over time but at the same time, a public health infrastructure that has not moved at the same rate to cope with the change and all the other associated challenges.” With this move, the Ministry intends to actively combat a changing landscape by uplifting these centres through infrastructure, equipment, furnishing, human resource and aesthetics.

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