JIS News

The Darlow Health Centre in Clarendon re-opened its doors on Friday (June 25) after extensive renovation work carried out by the Ministry of Health, under its Health Centre Renewal Programme.
The $4.9 million project, which was funded by the National Health Fund (NHF), with support from the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), included replacement of the roof, construction of a new waiting area, electrical wiring and tiling of the building, replacement of doors and windows, installation of new lighting fixtures, and the construction of a ramp to allow better access for the elderly and disabled persons.
Speaking at the official opening ceremony, Health Minister, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, said that the upgrading work, is important in meeting the health needs of Darlow and surrounding areas, including providing critical maternal and child health services.
“Darlow Health Centre is an important fixture in the community that provides health services to the residents of the large geographical area in the Thompson Town health district. These services are critical to the ability to maintain good health,” he said.
The Health Minister, however, pointed to the need for measures to be put in place to improve immunisation coverage in the area, which he said, was at 55 per cent. “I am not satisfied with the low level of coverage. Coverage is just 55 per cent as of December 2009. The (national) target is 99 per cent,” he said.
He stated that the Southern Regional Health Authority must devise a credible plan to achieve the target within a specified time in keeping with the United Nations Millennium Goals and Vision 2030.
“Immunisation coverage is included in the target specified under the reduction of child mortality. The country’s ability to achieve this and other health-related goals will be influenced in a significant way by the quality of the health care system. It is important that we get our primary health care to achieve this health target at the national level, as the strengthening of the health sector is prominently in Vision 2030,” he stated.
Minister of Labour and Social Security and Member of Parliament for North Central Clarendon, Hon. Pearnel Charles, in his brief remarks, called on the residents to help maintain the facility, which he said, will play an important role in improving primary health care in Darlow and surrounding areas.
Chief Executive Officer of the NHF, Hugh Lawson, informed that the Fund had approved approximately $300 million for the refurbishing of health centres under the Ministry’s project to strengthen primary health care in Jamaica.
A total of 116 health clinics across the island are slated to be renovated under the Health Centre Renewal Programme.