JIS News

Health Minister, John Junor has assured that despite the blow dealt to the Health sector by Hurricane Ivan, the entity remained committed to “providing quality health care, even in the face of disasters”.
Addressing journalists at a press briefing to discuss the sector’s recovery, Mr. Junor said initial estimates of damage to the Ministry’s facilities were put at $206.58 million, with the greatest damage of $89.58 million in the Southern Region, followed by the Western Regional Health Authority, the North East and South East.
The Minister informed that strides were being made to return to normalcy in the southern region, which was badly hit. In Manchester, 23 out of 26 health centres were operating, with 13 of 35 in Clarendon and 25 out of 26 in St. Elizabeth.
Mr. Junor said that with Clarendon so badly affected, the Clarendon Health Department would be instituting a schedule of mobile clinics to serve communities where health centres were inoperable. This, he informed would continue for a six-week period, beginning Tuesday, September 28. The mobile team would consist of a Public Health Inspector, Public Health Nurse, a District Medical Officer or Family Nurse Practitioner, and a Health Educator, he said.For the Western Regional Health Authority, some 43 per cent of the health centres received some damage with the ones at Negril, New Works and Petersfield in Westmoreland being closed, where major damage was sustained.
The Health Minister said the Noel Holmes Hospital, which was badly damaged, was back in operation, and that the Cornwall Regional Hospital was fully functional.
In the North East Regional Health Authority, Mr. Junor pointed out that the health centres in St. Mary were badly affected.
Meanwhile, regular services have resumed at all hospitals and most health centres in the South East Regional Health Authority.
Mr. Junor said the hospitals that were operating normally, were those that received minimal damage and had adequate standby facilities, including water storage capacity and standby generators.
The Minister emphasized that many lessons have been learnt from the experience. “In the post mortem on (their) ability to respond in disasters, it will be ensured that all hospitals have adequate standby capabilities for electricity and water supply,” he said.
In the meantime, Mr. Junor said the Child Development Agency (CDA) continues its assessment and investigation of hurricane impact, and that field visits are being paid to facilities by senior staff from the ministry’s head office.
Of the 61 child care facilities, seven sustained major damage, including the Copse Boys Home in Hanover and the Mannings Boys Home in St. Elizabeth. Minister Junor expressed gratitude for donations so far received from the private sector and international agencies to assist with the needs in the children’s homes.
Mr. Junor reported that operations at the Slipe Pen Road Blood Bank have returned to normal. He announced that generators are expected for the Blood Bank and National Laboratory from Cable and Wireless, and the National Chest Hospital from Capital and Credit Merchant Bank, which also helped with the generating capacity of the Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre.
The Jamaica Money Market Brokers (JMMB) has pledged a donation of US$38,000 to replace reagents, which were lost during the power outages at the Blood Bank. “These reagents are critical in ensuring the proper processing and testing of blood,” Mr. Junor said.
The Minister made particular mention of the performance of health workers during the hurricane, noting that in many instances, staff members went “above and beyond the call of duty”.

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