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Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, is lauding the invaluable contribution of charitable organisations and missions to the health sector, which he says, saves the Government millions in expenditure annually

According to Dr. Ferguson, there are close to 200 voluntary missions to Jamaica each year, offering services in various general care areas. He informed that in 2012, approximately 172 such missions came to Jamaica, which saved the government approximately US$393,000 in pharmaceuticals, supplies and equipment to the public health sector.

“This figure does not take into account what you would have had to pay for their professional fees,” he stated, adding that actual man hours and personal time, would put net contributions to the health sector in the region of several million dollars.

The Minister was addressing Tuesday’s (April 9) handing over of two ambulances and medical supplies valued at £42,421 to the St. Ann’s Bay Hospital by the United Kingdom (UK)-based Angel Foundation.

In expressing gratitude, he stated that the Government and the Ministry of Health welcome all partnerships for the delivery of quality health care to Jamaicans.

“No government can, by itself, provide all the services necessary for the optimal health of all persons, who require care. This is why we depend on the altruism of organisations such as the Angel Foundation to assist us to fill the gaps that exist,” Dr. Ferguson stated.

Angel Foundation was founded some two years ago by Jamaican living in the UK, Angelia Christian.

Miss Christian explained that she started the organisation to raise funds to assist the hospital, which cared for her two daughters after a pool accident during a family vacation in St. Ann in 2011.

She expressed gratitude to the staff of the hospital for the pleasant and professional manner in which she and her daughters were dealt with during the emergency, adding that coming out of that situation, she had made a personal commitment to do something for the facility on her return to the UK.

Miss Christian, who works for the Prison Service in the UK, pointed out that she got excellent support from her workplace, her church family, friends and other individuals, in the fund raising effort.

Custos Rotulorum of St. Ann, Hon. Radcliffe O. Walters, expressed appreciation to Miss Christian on behalf of the residents of the parish.

“In thanking you for this generous gift, let me assure you that we are cognisant of the importance of our family members of the Diaspora,” he stated. He noted that through increased co-operation with the Diaspora, the country can overcome its challenges.

Also present at the handing over ceremony was First Secretary, British High Commission, Steve Burns.

By Bryan Miller, JIS Reporter