Work to develop the Santa Cruz Health Centre in St. Elizabeth into one of four Centres of Excellence across the island, is to get underway soon, following Tuesday’s (January 15) contract signing for phase one of the project.
Health Minister, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson; representatives of the National Health Fund (NHF), which is financing the project; the Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA), and the contractors, Bajad Limited and CP Specialists Limited, signed a contract valued at $25 million at a ceremony held at the Percy Junor Hospital in Spaldings, Clarendon.
The initial phase of the Santa Cruz development will entail, among other things, the provision of furnishing and equipment as well as reconstruction of the roof, and is slated for completion by April.
The second phase will focus on improving diagnostics services; the child and maternal section; and dental service provisions. It is expected to be completed within the 2013/14 fiscal year.
Other facilities earmarked to be developed as Centres of Excellence are: the Isaac Barrant Health Centre, St. Thomas; Claremont Health Centre, St. Ann; and Darliston Health Centre, Westmoreland.
Dr. Ferguson said that the centres will provide a range of provisions, including diagnostic services. He said the administration is focused on primary health renewal to ease the burden on the hospitals.
He noted that more persons are seeking medical care at secondary and tertiary health institutions for conditions, which can be easily and readily addressed at primary facilities. This, he contended, placed significant pressure on the larger institutions to deal with matters requiring their intervention.
“We believe that… it is a strategy that will help to ease the pressure on our secondary care institutions. These Centres of Excellence (are expected to) become a part of the process that will allow persons to experience, at the primary level, what you would want, ideally, to take place and what they believe, many of them, is taking place at the secondary level. That is why they, oftentimes, crowd the hospitals for treatment; and so we have to encourage this as a strategy…going forward,” he stated.