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Story Highlights

  • Cabinet is to receive a draft of the proposed Primary Health Care Renewal Policy from the Ministry of Health, for its consideration.
  • The policy aims to create a blueprint that will underpin the Government’s prioritization of primary health care development and delivery at community health centres.
  • Dr. Ferguson pointed out that work on the policy has included recommendations from stakeholder consultations.

Cabinet is to receive a draft of the proposed Primary Health Care Renewal Policy from the Ministry of Health, for its consideration.

Health Minister, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, says the policy aims to create a blueprint that will underpin the Government’s prioritization of primary health care development and delivery at community health centres.

Speaking with JIS News after the official opening of the Brainerd Health Centre in St. Mary, on March 14, Dr. Ferguson said significant work has been undertaken by the Ministry to advance the policy’s development.

The Minister said the policy is to ensure that the centres are outfitted with the requisite provisions for them to deliver adequate quality medical care, so persons will not have to seek those services at hospitals.

This undertaking is consistent with the administration’s human capital development priority, focusing on development and strengthening of healthcare, and more efficient management of the health care system.

Dr. Ferguson pointed out that work on the policy has included recommendations from stakeholder consultations.

“We are now at a point where a Cabinet submission is being done, which represents, in some instances, some far-reaching changes (which we believe are) now acceptable to everyone,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr. Ferguson explained that the establishment of four Centres of Excellence islandwide is also indicative of the administration’s commitment to advancing primary health care.

These centres are the Isaac Barrant Health Centre, St. Thomas; Santa Cruz Health Centre, St. Elizabeth; Claremont Health Centre, St. Ann; Darliston Health Centre, Westmoreland.

“These Centres of Excellence (offer) the option of accessing primary health care. They will have ambulances, equipment to do basic diagnostic tests, and pharmacies,” Dr. Ferguson noted.

The Brainerd Health Centre, which will serve residents of Brainerd, Sue River, and adjoining communities in St. Mary, was built at a cost of $13 million, with funding provided by the National Health Fund (NHF).

It is one of 55 centres earmarked for improvement under the Ministry’s $300 million Health Sector Renewal Programme, also financed by the NHF.

The project entailed refurbishment and expansion of the existing community centre, to accommodate the new facility. Work undertaken included construction of a roof and reinforced wall; upgrading of the sewage disposal system; installation of electrical and plumbing fixtures; and building a security perimeter fence.