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Story Highlights

  • The delivery of primary healthcare to residents of Black River in St. Elizabeth has received a major boost through the recent expansion and renovation of the Black River Health Centre.
  • Health Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, on Thursday (May 2) reopened the health centre, which was renovated at a cost of $13 million provided by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF).
  • The facility will now include services relating to maternal and child health, as well as curative, dental, dressing, women’s health, nutrition, environmental health, mental health and child guidance.

The delivery of primary healthcare to residents of Black River in St. Elizabeth has received a major boost through the recent expansion and renovation of the Black River Health Centre.

Health Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, on Thursday (May 2) reopened the health centre, which was renovated at a cost of $13 million provided by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF).

The facility will now include services relating to maternal and child health, as well as curative, dental, dressing, women’s health, nutrition, environmental health, mental health and child guidance.

There is also an extension of the facility’s opening hours on select days. Formerly, daily operations were from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., but that has now been lengthened from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Dr. Tufton said that the additional hours will help to facilitate “the 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. persons” and other late-evening emergencies.

Health Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton (second right), greets a patient while touring the renovated Black River Health Centre in St. Elizabeth on Thursday, May 2.

“We have said that if we are going to get people to use the health centres more, then we need to provide services beyond the average daily hours, so that people who work will be able to access service at later hours,” said Dr. Tufton.

The Minister pointed out that he intends to implement this measure in every health facility across the country, adding that this will be a game changer in reducing the amount of cases in the Accident & Emergency (A&E) departments in hospitals.

“Expect bigger and better things to come for public health under this Administration. We are going to expand primary healthcare in terms of opening hours, in terms of curative services, and in terms of more medical personnel who will be present in these facilities,” Dr. Tufton said.

He said that one impending feature to help improve local healthcare service in the island is the creation of a shared patient network between primary and secondary institutions.

Dr. Tufton noted that the Black River Hospital and the Santa Cruz Health Centre will be among the first to have this feature.

“This is a means to an end, and the end of it all is that we provide the best possible care to the people that we serve,” he added.