JIS News

Children’s Advocate, Mary Clarke has added her praises for the move to abolish hospital user fees for children under the age of 18 years.
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller made the announcement in her Budget Debate presentation, yesterday (May 1), indicating that children would be exempted from paying user fees at government hospitals and health facilities, except the University Hospital of the West Indies.
“We are really happy with this decision of the government to waive the hospital fee for children. This bold move will help to ensure the survival rights of children,” she told JIS News.
“It will also go a long way in helping parents to access much needed health care. So, we are happy about it and excited because it is indicative of the commitment to the rights of children,” she added.
The government, she pointed out, wasresponding to the needs of children, who are indeed the future of the country.
Commendations have also come from the Chairman of the National Child Month Committee, Dr. Pauline Mullings, who, while speaking at the weekly JIS ‘Think Tank’, at its Half-Way-Tree Road office, said that the news at the commencement of Child Month (May) was truly exciting, as it would help in taking care of the nation’s children.
“The news excites me. I feel so good. the government is realising more and more that family is important and that things should be put in place to assist the family and this is a great move. A lot of mothers today do not know what to do with themselves [having heard the good news],” Dr. Mullings said.
“There are many times when they [mothers] go to the hospital and they really do not have even enough money to register and even fill prescriptions and all the other things at Bustamante Hospital for Children, for example, so I know some people are very happy today and it is just great,” she noted.
In her announcement, the Prime Minister also said that persons on the Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) would not be billed for care in public hospitals. “We must take care of our most vulnerable family members. We have to help the children, the weak, the elderly and the disabled,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said.

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