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Minister of Health, Horace Dalley, has said that the Ministry will be launching a violence prevention programme, which is aimed at reducing the number of cases treated at hospitals as a result of violence.
Mr. Dalley, who was addressing the Jamaican Women of Washington (JWoW) business development symposium at the Hampshire Greens Golf Club in Maryland on Thursday (Sept. 28), noted that violence was stressing the health care system, with 38,000 patients treated for violence-related injuries in 2005 at a cost of $700 million. The number is more than twice the 15,700 violence-related visits to hospitals in 2004.
“The increase in violence is now creating a serious impact on the island’s hospital service,” he said, noting that, “there is an urgent need for the launching of a programme geared at violence prevention”.
Turning to HIV/AIDS, Minister Dalley informed that there were about 25,000 reported cases of HIV in Jamaica and the national infection rate was slowing down.
He said the objective of the Ministry of Health was to ensure that “every single person infected with HIV have access to antiretroviral drugs. Right now, 50 per cent of the persons in Jamaica, who are infected, have access to the drugs”.
On other aspects of the health sector, Minister Dalley said that the government would be upgrading and installing “state-of-the-art equipment at all the major hospitals in Jamaica within the next 18 to 24 months.”
Meanwhile, he called on JWoW to partner with the Health Ministry by adopting a hospital in Jamaica.The symposium is part of JWoW’s second annual fundraising golf tournament called ‘Tee-Off Fore The Health Of It’, the proceeds of which support programmes and organizations in Jamaica, that work to improve the health of women, children and families most in need. The Jamaica Cancer Society will benefit from the proceeds of the event this year.
Panelists at the symposium include Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Professor Gordon Shirley; Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Anthony Hylton, Wayne Wray, President of First Global Bank; and Rodney Davis, President and CEO, Cable and Wireless, Jamaica.