KINGSTON — Minister of Education, Hon Andrew Holness, has welcomed Friday's April 15 re-opening of the refurbished Olympic Gardens Health Centre, in West Central St. Andrew.
Noting that the clinic had fallen into disrepair “for many years”, Mr. Holness, Member of Parliament for the area, expressed satisfaction that it will now be able to deliver quality service to the over 3,000 patients who access it monthly. He also thanked the residents for their patience during the refurbishing, and urged them to preserve it.
“I really don’t want to hear reports that the fans were stolen…a nurse was harassed…the windows were stolen…(or) that the clinic was broken into. Let us take pride in our institutions; let us protect them. In protecting them, they will protect us, the clinic will protect our health,” Mr. Holness implored.
The Ministry of Health spearheaded refurbishment of the facility, which was closed last year after falling into disrepair, at a cost of approximately $12.6 million through a grant from the National Health Fund (NHF). The centre is one of 46 refurbished over the past two years, under the Ministry’s $300 million Health Centre Renewal Programme, targeting 60 institutions.
The scope of works undertaken at Olympic Gardens included: re-designing of the roof, and re-roofing of the facility; electrical re-wiring; painting; installation of new cupboards and doors; and installation of a French drain to prevent flooding.
Similar sentiments were expressed by SERHA’s Chairman, Lyttleton Shirley, and NHF Chief Executive Officer, Hugh Lawson, who also spoke at the function.
Mr. Shirley said the Ministry’s focus on primary health care is in sync with World Health Organization’s (WHO) requirements, and supports the view that the ultimate goal of primary health care should be better health for all.
He pointed out that the WHO regards primary health care as a “people-oriented” approach to health that makes prevention as important as cure. But, this can only be achieved by collectively identifying and tackling the root causes of ill health.
“I want to challenge the residents of Olympic Gardens and its surroundings that they too, will have a very important role to play in not only protecting and safeguarding this institution but, certainly, to address the very potent issue of avoidance of habits that lead to unhealthy lifestyles,” Mr. Shirley said.
Addressing the issues will reduce the number of persons accessing health centres, and allow caregivers to focus on chronic diseases and unforeseen health conditions.
Mr. Lawson felt that staff members at the centre should be a lot happier with the refurbishing work, which has made facility much more comfortable to work in. He said residents should be delighted that they no longer have to travel elsewhere for health care.
“We, at the NHF, appeal to members of the community and staff members, to play your part to keep your health centre in good condition. At the same time, I also encourage you to ensure that you make full use of the services provided here,” Mr. Lawson said.
Health Minister, Hon Rudyard Spencer, the guest speaker, thanked the stakeholders in the effort suggesting that, if they continue to work together, they can achieve their goals.
A Type Three facility, the Olympic Gardens Health Centre will provide a range of services, including family health, incorporating antenatal and postnatal provisions; child health, nutrition, family planning and immunization, curative, dental and environmental health; child guidance and mental health.
By DOUGLAS McINTOSH, JIS Reporter