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Minister of Health and Environment, Rudyard Spencer, has said that a committee has been established to aid in the renewal of the country’s Primary Health Care system.
He pointed out that by September 2008, the committee would develop the concept and framework for a renewed Primary Health Care System in Jamaica; develop a strategic plan for a comprehensive and renewed system; document the policy and legislative framework needed in support of this system; and document the immediate and short term needs for implementing a renewed Primary Health Care system.
The Health Minister was making his contribution to the 2008/09 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, today (June 3).
“Primary Health Care is not just a concept or a philosophy. It is both a strategy and an approach to the delivery of health care based on certain fundamental principles such as: equity, social justice, quality, collaboration, active community participation, focus on health promotion and prevention; focus on families and communities; and sustainability,” Mr. Spencer pointed out.
He explained that “global and local imperatives” require that Primary Health Care approach is re-defined, and that “while the core values, principles and elements remain, new and emerging models will need to be applied, taking into consideration the demographic and epidemiology transition; social and economic determinants; environmental considerations; and communication and technological advances.”
The Minister further noted that a renewed approach to Primary Health Care is viewed in the international arena as an essential condition to address the fundamental causes of health, as articulated by the World Health Organization (WHO) Commission on Social Determinants of Health, and to codify health as a human right.
“It is an undisputed fact that a primary health care approach is both comprehensive and integrated, involving communities, public and private partnerships and significant inter-sectoral collaboration. It has been demonstrated time and again, that the foundation of a good health system begins at the Primary Health Care level. It is also intrinsically linked to the essential public health functions,” Mr. Spencer emphasized.
“I am holding this committee to the time frame announced, as the successful achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Vision 2030 and the future of the health sector will be determined by the quality of our Primary Health Care system,” he added.