- Residents of Nannyville Gardens, in South East St. Andrew, are benefitting from a refurbished community health centre, that was officially opened earlier this year.
- Prior to the opening of the centre, residents were forced to travel to other health centres located on Windward Road and in Rollington Town.
- The staff of the clinic comprise two doctors, one registered nurse, one registered midwife and a community health aide.
Residents of Nannyville Gardens, in South East St. Andrew, are benefitting from a refurbished community health centre, that was officially opened earlier this year.
Built in the 1970s, the old structure was upgraded in late 2014, through the efforts of the Ministry of Health and the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA), with funding provided by the National Health Fund (NHF).
Following the $51 million renovation project, the centre now provides primary health care services to the residents of Nannyville and the surrounding communities of Swallowfield, Stadium Gardens and other sections of Mountain View.
Prior to the opening of the centre, residents were forced to travel to other health centres located on Windward Road and in Rollington Town.
The facility offers a range of health services, including antenatal, postnatal, maternal and child health, mental health care as well as curative care. There are also plans to offer dental health care at the facility.
The staff of the clinic comprise two doctors, one registered nurse, one registered midwife and a community health aide.
In an interview with JIS News, Registered Midwife, Nurse Eugenie Ingram-Greene, says that the community members have welcomed the health centre with open arms.
“Persons are excited by the new facility. On average we see about 20 to 25 persons per day. Most of the persons that come to us are cases for the curative section that treat persons with hypertension, diabetes and other disorders. We also have an increase in antenatal clients right now,” she informs.
Vineyard Town resident, Howard Jackson, takes his son to the clinic twice weekly to monitor the child’s blood pressure for consultation at the Bustamante Hospital for Children.
Mr. Jackson says he is grateful for the convenience of the health centre. “I didn’t even know there was a clinic here, and I was so happy when I discovered it, because with my child’s problem I would probably have to go to another clinic, either at Windward Road or Rollington Town. He goes to school right there, so it’s very convenient,” he tells JIS News.
“I have to take him out of school and bring him here. And they make it convenient, because when he comes, they make sure he gets back to school on time,” he adds.
Mr. Jackson is pleased with the newly refurbished facility. “It’s in a nice serene atmosphere. The staff is friendly, there is a real community spirit. And a big plus is the new facilities. There is no overcrowding or long waits, like with the hospitals,” he says.
He notes that the easily accessible health facility eases the financial burden on the residents, who are mainly in the middle and lower income brackets.
“They cannot afford the doctor and medication and the nearest clinic used to be Rollington Town or Windward Road, which is really far from here, so it’s at a good spot. Kudos to the Ministry of Health,” he says.
At the official opening of the centre, Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, had said that the renovation project was one of many being undertaken by the Ministry and its partners to improve the primary care infrastructure right across the island.
“The whole idea is to have institutions that function as mini hospitals at the community level, inclusive of diagnostic facilities,” the Minister said.
“With over 300 health centres and 25 hospitals, it is no easy task for Governments, past or present, to fix the challenges that we face in our health system. But, we have to do what we have to do to improve the quality of care for our people. Quality health care contributes to production and productivity of our country. Health care and good quality care is inextricably linked with economic growth and development,” he pointed out.
For his part, Board Chairman of the South East Regional Health Authority, Dr. Andrei Cooke, said that Primary Health Care renewal represents a rebirth of healthcare within the communities.
“This year is a good for health care delivery and by and large, primary care. Step by step we are working assiduously to improve the quality of service we provide to the public. With the transformation that has taken place at this facility, we are expecting a healthier population. We at SERHA remain committed to changing all the health centres so that the people are better served,” Dr. Cooke said.
Meanwhile, State Minister in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining and Member of Parliament for the area, Hon. Julian Robinson, said that beyond the health benefits for the residents, the refurbished centre will have a positive effect on the social structure of the community.
“A good health centre and a functional health centre will transform the community, because you are going to have a level of activity and persons coming into Nannyville, which will have spin off benefits for the entire community,” he said.
Since 2012, the Ministry of Health has spent over $620 million to renovate 128 of the country’s health centres.