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  • The Government’s development of a 10-year Strategic Plan for the public health sector is expected to be finalised within the next few months.
  • This was disclosed by Health Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, at Monday’s (November 26) official opening of the $860-million National Linear Cancer Treatment Centre at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Kingston. He noted that the Plan articulates proposals that will chart the sector’s course over the next 10 to 20 years, in relation to infrastructure and human resource development. 

The Government’s development of a 10-year Strategic Plan for the public health sector is expected to be finalised within the next few months.

This was disclosed by Health Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, at Monday’s (November 26) official opening of the $860-million National Linear Cancer Treatment Centre at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Kingston. He noted that the Plan articulates proposals that will chart the sector’s course over the next 10 to 20 years, in relation to infrastructure and human resource development.

Dr. Tufton said St. Joseph’s Hospital, with its newly acquired state-of-the-art linear accelerator cancer therapy machine, is a pivotal part of the plan. He noted  that the Ministry recently got approval to commission a study for the development of the hospital into a Centre of Excellence specialising in oncology [cancer treatment] and nephrology [renal/kidney] care.

Dr. Tufton said the focus in relation to oncology is on “how do we build out, around this linear accelerator, a series of other services that support diagnosis and treatment of cancer”.

As it regards nephrology, he noted that the emphasis is on the administration of dialysis. He noted that there are nearly 150,000 Jamaicans with renal issues.

The Minister said that based on the extent to which a significant number of Jamaicans are afflicted by both diseases, “we really need to be looking at the curative side, even while we address some of the preventative measures”.

“So over the next year or so, we will effectively have a business plan for St. Joseph’s… and I intend to work with key stakeholders [because] we have big plans. I am excited about the future of healthcare in Jamaica. I think we are on the right track, in terms of where we need to go to cater to the needs of our population, in keeping with the vision as to where we ought to be versus where we are,” he added.

The National Linear Cancer Treatment Centre at St. Joseph’s Hospital is Jamaica’s second such facility, following the opening of a $770.9-million centre at Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) in Montego Bay, just under a year ago.

They centres will boost cancer-care delivery in the public health system by utilising state-of-the-art linear accelerator (LINAC) machines to administer radiation therapy.

Project financing was provided by the National Health Fund (NHF); Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE); and the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) as well as private-sector interests.