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Minister of Health, Horace Dalley on Thursday (Nov. 2) broke ground for the construction of an $88 million health centre in Highgate in St. Mary, which will improve the delivery of health care to the people of that community and surrounding areas.
The project, which will be financed by the National Health Fund (NHF), is to be completed in 11 months, and will offer pharmacy services, wellness programmes, laboratory and improved dental services. The facility will also feature a conference room, and staff accommodations. The construction contract has been awarded to Jatlin Construction and Associates Limited.
Delivering the main address at the groundbreaking and contract signing ceremony, Mr. Dalley thanked the staff of the Ministry of Health and the NHF for the work that had been done to bring the project to reality, and urged the residents of Highgate to take the best care of the facility when it was completed.
He commended the NHF for its contribution to the improvement and development of health facilities and the general delivery of health care to the Jamaican people.
Mr. Dalley also used the occasion to emphasise the need for more citizens to register with the Fund, in order to receive benefits. Informing that presently there were over 250,000 persons receiving prescription drug benefits under the NHF he noted however that only 60 percent of elderly persons were registered under the Jamaica Drugs for the Elderly Programme (JADEP).
Stating that the Government was determined to ensure that the highest level of health care was provided by the country’s public health system, Mr. Dalley said the construction of the new health centre would be followed up shortly with the improvement and establishment of other health facilities in St. Mary, including the soon to be constructed Caribbean Ophthalmologist Centre in Western St. Mary. He also noted the planned upgrading of the Annotto Bay Hospital from a Type C to a Type B facility during the next financial year.
The Health Minister urged the contractors to make every effort to ensure that the work was completed on time and within budget.