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The new Jeffery Town Health Centre, in St. Mary, was officially opened on Friday, April 16, by Minister of Health, Hon. Rudyard Spencer.
The Type 1 facility was built through a partnership between the Digicel Foundation and the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund, at a cost of $10.9 million.
In his address, the Minister said the opening of the centre was an important step in efforts to improve the quality of health care for all Jamaicans.

Minister of Health, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, giving the main address at the official handing over ceremony for Jeffrey Town Type 1 Health Centre, in St. Mary, on Friday, April 16.

He explained that the Ministry is focused on changing the health seeking behaviour of Jamaicans, who prefer to access health care in a hospital, rather than at the primary health care facility.
Noting that resources to the primary health care sector are being systematically deployed in order to broaden access to health care and also reduce the cost of health care to Jamaicans, he said the farther people have to travel to access care is the more expensive the non-health costs could be.
He said that data collected by the Ministry of Health showed that visits to health centres have reached over three million since the abolition of user fees in April, 2008, and that persons accessing the service at this level have saved more than $1 billion.
Mr. Spencer said that the no user fee policy must be seen as more than just a health or social policy, adding that is also important to the broader development agenda of the country.

Major General Robert Neish, Executive Director of the Digicel Foundation, addresses the official handing over cremony for the new Jeffrey Town Type 1 Health Centre, in St. Mary, on Friday, April 16.

He noted that the government has increased the money spent on drugs by 100 per cent since the abolition of user fees, moving from $1.2 billion to $2.4 billion to satisfy the 44 per cent increase in visits to public pharmacies.
The Minister emphasised the Government commitment to ensuring the provision of the highest quality health care for Jamaicans, citing the introduction of flexible opening hours at a number of major health centres; the training of health nurse assistants to be engaged in health care institutions; and the training of dialysis technicians as some of the initiatives being implemented to realize this objective.
Executive Director of the Digicel Foundation, Major General Robert Neish, reiterated the organisation’s commitment to assist communities in becoming more self reliant.

Chief Executive Officer of the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund, Mr. Billy Heaven, addressing the official handing over ceremony for the new Jeffrey Town Type 1 Health Centre, in St. Mary, on Friday, April 16.

He disclosed that the Foundation plans to establish at least one developmental project in every parish, as part of its effort to empower communities.
Mr. Neish said the Foundation is pleased to have been able to partner with the CHASE Fund to build the health centre, because of the urgent need for such an amenity in the community.
The new facility is equipped with a waiting area, an office, a record-keeping area, two examination rooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, a storeroom and a wash area.
It will provide ante-natal, curative, post-natal, child and adult nutrition services, chronic disease management and control, family planning, HIV/AIDS management, cancer screening, early detection and referral of health problems, and immunisation service.