No Discrimination in Healthcare Delivery – Dr. Tufton

Photo: Donald Delahaye Health Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton (right) engages in discussion with Vice-President of External Affairs for ViiV Healthcare, Dr. Manuel Goncalves (left) at a reception at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on August 30. At (centre) is Chairperson of Viiv Healthcare’s Positive Action Programme, Juan Jacobo Hernández.

Story Highlights

  • Health Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says the Ministry is committed to catering to the healthcare needs of all Jamaicans, without any discrimination.
  • “The Health Ministry does not condone any form of stigma and discrimination in the public healthcare system... . We want to foster a safe and friendly public health delivery system, one that Jamaicans will feel comfortable engaging with for both information and treatment,” Dr. Tufton said.
  • Dr. Tufton, who was addressing a function at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on August 30, informed that, through the Ministry’s Standards and Regulation Division, a robust and confidential mechanism has been established through which people living with HIV, and other persons who experience stigma and discrimination at health institutions, can seek redress.

Health Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says the Ministry is committed to catering to the healthcare needs of all Jamaicans, without any discrimination.

“The Health Ministry does not condone any form of stigma and discrimination in the public healthcare system… . We want to foster a safe and friendly public health delivery system, one that Jamaicans will feel comfortable engaging with for both information and treatment,” he said.

Dr. Tufton, who was addressing a function at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on August 30, informed that, through the Ministry’s Standards and Regulation Division, a robust and confidential mechanism has been established through which people living with HIV, and other persons who experience stigma and discrimination at health institutions, can seek redress.

He noted that the National Family Planning Board (NFPB) through the Enabling Environment and Human Rights Programme is charged with reducing HIV stigma and discrimination in the society.

“The NFPB works closely with its partner, the Jamaica Network of Seropositives (JN+), which has developed and implemented the National HIV Reporting and Redress System,” he said.

That system collects treatment-related discriminatory complaints and addresses these with a view to obtaining redress for people living with HIV.

Meanwhile, Dr. Tufton pointed out that the Ministry is in the process of institutionalising the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV into the general health service delivery in all four regional health authorities across the island.

Discussions are also under way to have stable HIV patients integrated into the general public health system.

This, he noted would help to minimise stigma and discrimination directed at people living with HIV, including members of key populations.

Vice-President of External Affairs for ViiV Healthcare, Dr. Manuel Goncalves, said overcoming stigma and discrimination in the healthcare sector is achievable.

He pointed to the successful support his agency has given to the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians All-Sexuals and Gays (JFLAG), in collaboration with the Ministry and the NFPB, in building programmes that have helped to train more than 300 healthcare professionals in the reduction of discrimination.

ViiV, an independent, global specialist HIV company, is dedicated to delivering innovative options for the care and treatment of people living with HIV/AIDS.

For his part, Acting Executive Director of JFLAG, Jaevion Nelson, noted that with help from partners such as ViiV Healthcare, the Ministry and others, “health services have become more open and accommodating of people from different backgrounds”.

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