PORT ANTONIO — The Ministry of Health has approved funds for the rehabilitation of the operating theatre at the Port Maria Hospital in St. Mary, and the construction of a health clinic in the Brainerd/Sue River area of the parish.
Mayor of Port Maria, Councillor Richard Creary, made the announcement while addressing the launch of Health Month activities for St. Mary on Friday, April 1 at the Port Maria town square.
He said improvements to the hospital and the construction of the new health clinic, will significantly improve the delivery of health care to residents of the parish. He said that the projects will get underway in “short order."
Councillor Creary said that the Government was fully committed to the no user fee policy and pointed out that there has been a 40 per cent increase in the number of persons using public health facilities since its introduction in April 2008. “The policy is working,” he stated.
Parish Manager for St. Mary Health Services, Dr. Isaac Brown, outlined the activities planned for the month, which is being observed under the theme: ‘Be alert, disease prevention needs your attention’.
These include a community meeting scheduled for Tuesday, April 5 at Richmond Square, while Women at Real Risk (WARR), a health team from the United States of America, will be visiting a number of health centres in the parish to carry out cancer screening .
The schedule of visits by WARR is as follows: Rock River Health Centre on April 11; Windsor Castle Health Centre on April 12; Islington Health Centre on April 13; and Clonmel Health Centre on April 14.
On April 19, there will be an Open Day and Mini Fair at the Jeffery Town Health Centre, while the month of activities will culminate with a staff wellness day on April 29 at the Westmoreland Oval in Annotto Bay beginning at 10:00 a.m.
Health Education Officer at St. Mary Health Services, Pauline Steele-Davis, said the month will showcase the operations and functions of the health services, and to educate persons to make healthy lifestyles choices.
“We seek to promote health, prevent diseases, and sensitise the community about service delivery at the health facilities in the parish, with the expectation that these services will be utilised by the populace,” she stated.
Member of Parliament for East Central St. Mary, Dr. Morais Guy, in his remarks, congratulated the organisers and called on the residents to prevent lifestyles diseases by making healthy choices.
Also present at the function were, Director of Nursing Services at the Port Maria Hospital, Linda Sutherland-Hines; Board member of the North East Regional Health Authority (NERHA), Julius Dixon; and Regional Technical Director of NERHA, Dr. Patrick Wheatle.
The launch included a cultural presentation by students of the Port Maria Primary School.
By LORNA WILLIAMS, JIS Reporter