KINGSTON — There has been an increase in the number of persons accessing care at health centres in St. Mary.
This was disclosed by Minister of Health, Hon. Rudyard Spencer on Wednesday August 10, during the official re-opening of the Gayle Health Centre in the parish, which was refurbished at a cost of $3,087,000.
The Health Minister pointed out that nearly 10,000 more persons sought care at the health centre level in 2010 moving the total figure to 119,197 from 109,923 in 2009. At Gayle, total visits for 2010 was 16,899 compared to 15,273 in 2009.
Mr. Spencer credits this movement to the Ministry’s Primary Health Care renewal programme, funded by the National Health Fund (NHF), under which more than 40 health centres have already been rehabilitated.
The programme seeks to encourage the use of community health centres in an effort to reduce overcrowding and long waiting times at public hospitals.
Minister Spencer said that the upgrading of the Gayle facility signals to the beneficiary communities “that the Government of Jamaica is serious about maintaining and improving their infrastructure and facilities that they have."
Vice President, Finance and Corporate Affairs, NHF, Aubrey Blair noted that the repair of health centres across the island is aimed at improving the health services available at the community level.
“It is our wish, at the NHF, to see a healthier Jamaica, where people practise healthy living, monitor their health carefully and take their medication if they have any medical illness,” he stated.
He also encouraged the community members to take good care of the refurbished health centre.
“I believe the members of staff are happy with the improvements here and are re-energised to serve you. I hope you will also make good use of your newly refurbished health care centre and take great care of it, so that the new improvements will last a long time,” Mr. Blair stated.
In his remarks, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries and Member of Parliament for St. Mary Western, Hon. Robert Montague, said he is very pleased with the work done to improve the facility.
“I believe the community and the members of staff at Gayle are thankful and grateful for the improved facilities that this project has resulted in for them,” he stated.
The scope of work included construction of the front boundary wall; screening and waterproofing of the entire roof; painting of interior and exterior walls; electrical upgrading; installation of new entrance door, cupboards, counter tops and sanitary appliances and fixtures.
The health centre offers services including maternal and child health, family planning, psychiatry, diabetic and hypertensive clinics, general medical clinic, environmental health, food handler’s certification, cervical cancer screening, dressing, nutrition, dental and pharmacy.
It serves the communities of Jeffrey Town, Dressikie, Mile Gully, Hunts Town, Barker, Richards Pen, Labyrinth, Woodpark, Derry, Donnington, Lucky Hill and Goshen.
By LATONYA LINTON, JIS Reporter