Govt. Commended for Free Health Care Policy


Opposition Spokesman on Health and the Environment, Dr. Fenton Ferguson has said the Government must be commended for implementing the policy of Free Health Care.
He argued that such a bold step must be highlighted and that health professionals be lauded for stepping up to the plate in making the policy a reality.
Making his presentation in the 2008/09 Sectoral Debate in the House, yesterday (July 8), Dr. Ferguson also commended Minister of Health and the Environment, Rudyard Spencer for his leadership in facilitating the implementation of this policy.
“Our support for this policy is reinforced by the fact that it is in keeping with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), to which Jamaica is a signatory and is an integral part of the long term goal of achieving health care as a right and not a privilege,” he said.
However, Dr. Ferguson said he is concerned about sustainability, especially with the rise in the cost of living, and that he is prepared to work with Mr. Spencer in developing such a plan.
“This is vital and necessary in order to prevent unraveling of the gains we have made thus far. Long term disastrous and even catastrophic effects on the health of the nation are now real possibilities, as a consequence of conditions over which we have absolutely no control,” he added.
Turning to the Regional Health Authority (RHA), Dr. Ferguson said that the national task force set up by the Minister to implement a comprehensive review and evaluation, is a bold step and another effort that must be lauded.
He said that the RHA has been in existence for over 10 years and it has not undergone any such evaluation or review. “When I saw the composition of the task force and who was designated the Chairman, I was convinced that you Mr. Minister are genuine in your search for objectivity and truth,” he told the House.
Dr. Ferguson said that the Opposition fully supports any agenda that genuinely seeks to reform the health sector. “Without reform, there is no possibility of sustainability, and without sustainability there is no possibility of genuine health development,” he stressed.

JIS Social