Health infrastructure within the parish of St. Thomas is to be improved to meet the growing demands of the parish, says Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton.
Speaking at a ceremony for the adoption of the Yallahs Health Centre, in St. Thomas, by the D. Terrence Foster Foundation, on Friday, May 13, Dr. Tufton argued that with the ongoing development in the parish, there is likely to be an influx of residents and the infrastructure will have to be upgraded, in alignment with the development.
“When signs of progress are very evident, many things will follow,” he said, pointing out that once access is provided, there is likely to be mass migration into the parish.
“It means that you are going to see greater demand on your critical infrastructure, healthcare being key, because once you develop, people are going to come, so you’re going to have to be prepared to host other residents who want to settle in St. Thomas,” the Minister added.
Dr. Tufton said that when people can access the amenities of shopping, housing and roads that will come with the development of the parish, they will want to live there, adding that “it is just a stone’s throw away from Kingston, which is kind of crowded”.
This, he explained, will in turn create a greater demand on the health infrastructure of the parish, “so one of the things that we have been doing and will continue to do in the parish of St. Thomas is to assess where we are, where we’re likely to go over the next five to 10 years, and identify the key requirements”.
The Minister pointed out that there was an ongoing review looking at the population centres to determine the requirements for health centres, adding that the lone secondary-care facility in the parish, the Princess Margaret Hospital, has benefited from a substantial overhaul over the past few years and now has capacity to accommodate more demands.
Dr. Tufton noted that the Yallahs Health Centre, which handles approximately 25,000 visits per year, requires a significant assessment in keeping with the development.
He argued that with the population centre expanding and access improving, there would be a development plan for the Yallahs Health Centre, which would mean expansion of the facility.
The D. Terrence Foster Foundation has committed a sum of $3 million over the next three years in the Government’s Adopt-a-Clinic Programme.