JIS News

MONTEGO BAY – Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson on Friday, February 22, signed a $17 .8 million contract for the upgrading of the Darliston Health Centre, in Westmoreland.

Under the contract, which was signed with Maxwell Construction Company, the health facility is to be upgraded to a centre of excellence.

The work, which is to be completed in four months, represents the first phase of a three phase programme to fully upgrade the health centre, and includes: the expansion of the building, roof repairs, modification of the cottages, plumbing improvements, and painting among other things.

In his address at the contract signing ceremony Minister Ferguson pointed out that under the centres of excellence plan for four primary health care centres across the island, only one contract is left to be signed.

So far, contracts have been signed for the Santa Cruz Health Centre, in St. Elizabeth; and Isaac Barrant in St. Thomas.

Dr. Ferguson says the planned programme for the establishment of primary health care centres of excellence marks the solid commitment of his Ministry and the Government, to improve primary health care.

“The programme for the renewal of primary health care is a major development towards an improvement in the health status of our people,” he said, adding that Jamaica’s model of primary health care is the standard by which many countries around the world have been building their primary health care system.

“Through the development of these centres of excellence, we hope to ensure that services can be provided to persons even in the most peripheral communities,” he said, adding that the Ministry is also seeking to integrate the delivery of health promotion, prevention, early detection, curative measures, rehabilitation, and community development activities.

The Health Minister said that with the development of centres of excellence there should be an appreciable reduction in the improper use of the secondary health care facilities, and that this will eventually result in savings.

He argued that it has been widely demonstrated that the foundation of a good health system begins at the primary health care level, and that investing in primary health care must be an important agenda item, as the country is positioned for growth.