KINGSTON — Minister of Health, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, on Friday, December 2, broke ground for the refurbishing and upgrading of the Rocky Point Health Centre, in Clarendon, which has been out of service since it was severely damaged by Hurricane Ivan in 2004.
The centre, which is a Type 1facility, will be moved up to a Type 2 facility, as a result of the $22 million expansion work. It will be re-roofed, and extensive drainage installed, to buffer the effects of heavy rains.
Minister Spencer told the ceremony that community health aides will provide a crucial role at the centre and in the wider community.
He said the facility will be fully staffed, and the community health aides will assist with “freeing up”, doctors and nurses in the preparation of medical records.
Mr. Spencer also said the health aides will provide assistance in the form of assessing whether or not patients require return visits. “The Community Health Aides will visit (patients), see whether or not (they are) improving and the extent to which there is need for (them) to come back, this is where we are going with health care in Jamaica,” the Minister explained.
He emphasised that the Government has a responsibility to take health care to persons, in communities where people can least afford the cost of traveling and health related costs.
Meanwhile, he noted that since 2007, some 52 Health Centres have been upgraded and refurbished within budget, seven of which were in the parish of Clarendon. “We have been doing well, come in on time, and coming in on budget, this one we expect to be no different,” he remarked.
In his address, Chief Executive Officer of the National Health Fund (NHF), Hugh Lawson, reported that 2011 has seen a major expenditure on health facilities.
“The refurbishment and repair of the infrastructure for Primary Health Care in Jamaica, under the Health Sector Renewal Programme, (has been) funded by the NHF to the tune of some $300 million. The NHF team will be monitoring this project to ensure it is done properly and completed on time,” he said.
Emphasising that the major role of the NHF is to “assist with financing of health care to ensure improvements in the delivery and service to the people of Jamaica,” he pointed out that within four years the agency has provided approximately $2.9 million to the Ministry of Health to carry out various projects in hospitals and health centres, as well as for training, health promotion and other activities, all aimed at improving the delivery of health care in the country.
By Garfield L. Angus, JIS Reporter