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MANDEVILLE — With the reopening of the refurbished Milk River Health Centre, Clarendon, over 15,000 residents will able to access health care, without having to travel long distances.

Speaking on Thursday, at the official opening of the centre, after a $9 million refurbishing job financed by the National Health Fund (NHF), Minister of Health, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, said that well equipped health centres are part of Government’s strategy to deliver quality health care to all communities.

“The hospitals are important, but we are moving rapidly to primary health care that reside in the communities, and part of that strategy is to have those health centres properly staffed,” Mr. Spencer said.

He said that he was pleased to learn that staff at the Milk River facility is already carrying out one of his Ministry’s mandates, which is going into the communities to do outreach work.

In welcoming the reopening of the centre, community resident, Beverly Boothe, said they were now in a position to do less travelling to neighbouring facilities.

“We are extremely thankful for our refurbished health centre. I can assure all the medical personnel, that the process has begun in reorganizing the health committee to assist in the maintenance and management of this facility. The residents of Milk River and surrounding areas are truly grateful,” Miss Boothe said.   

The health centre was severely damaged by Hurricane Dean in 2007. The refurbishing included repairs to the roof, rewiring of the building, additional space for doctor’s office and erection of a boundary fence and entrance gates.

“It is a wonderful facility. We want to take care of it, we want to utilize this facility to prevent rather than cure,” stated Member of Parliament for South West Clarendon, Noel Arscott.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the NHF, Hugh Lawson, told the gathering that to mitigate future disasters, they have attached hurricane straps to the roof to survive other storms.

He also urged the staff to ensure that patients are given the best care. He said that while it is important to have beautiful structures, it was equally important that people who come for health care services are satisfied with the care they receive.

“Customer satisfaction, or patient satisfaction, must now be at the top of the agenda for Milk River Health Centre, as for other health centres across the island,” Mr. Lawson said.

 

By GARFIELD L. ANGUS, JIS Reporter