KINGSTON — Minister of Health, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, intends to table a Bill in Parliament, “in a matter of weeks”, prohibiting smoking in public places and spaces.
Mr. Spencer said that the intention is to significantly enhance the ministry’s healthy lifestyle campaign, which is being promoted in earnest by the relevant departments and agencies.
Speaking at the official re-opening of the Lawrence Tavern health centre in rural St. Andrew, on Thursday September 1, Mr. Spencer said that the Ministry has already submitted its proposals to Cabinet for approval.
He said that adopting a healthy lifestyle has become an urgent issue, in light of the burdensome costs of health care for conditions associated with unhealthy living. He noted that over US$170 million are spent annually by his Ministry to treat chronic diseases,.
“Ideally, what we should aim for is to practice more physical activities; better eating choices, responsible behaviour and stop smoking,” he suggested.
He said that chronic diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, cancer and cardiovascular diseases account for almost 60 per cent of deaths globally, and have created a new demand for long term care and strong community support.
Thirteen health centres in the South East health region, which comprises Kingston, St. Andrew, St. Catherine and St. Thomas, have been earmarked for repairs at a cost of $62 million, under the Primary Health Care Renewal Programme. Funding is being provided by the National Health Fund (NHF).
Refurbishing of the Lawrence Tavern health centre, a Type III facility, was spearheaded by the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA), at a cost of approximately $8 million. The works undertaken included; re-roofing, painting, tiling, repairs to cupboards, electrical repairs, construction of a link-way between the two buildings comprising the facility and the installation of grills, a kitchenette and wheel chair ramps.
By Douglas Mcintosh, JIS Reporter