Minister Emphasises Importance of Primary Health Care

Photo: Claudia Gardner Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton (centre), applauds after unveiling the plaque officially marking the adoption of the Lambs River Health Centre, in Westmoreland, by the Jamaica 55 Charities Group UK, under the Ministry of Health’s Adopt a Clinic Programme. With him are Dr. Marcia Graham of the Westmoreland Health Department and Member of Parliament for Eastern Westmoreland, Luther Buchanan.

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says the Government is committed to ensuring that primary health care facilities, particularly in rural areas, are adequately equipped to properly serve the communities.
  • Dr. Tufton said it is more cost effective and efficient to invest in resources required for primary health care facilities to undertake prevention work to curtail the prevalence of non-communicable diseases, as opposed to focusing on the far more costly curative aspect of medical care.
  • “The tools of trade at the primary health care level are far more inexpensive than the required infrastructure at the hospital level. And so, it is penny wise and pound foolish for us, as a country, to ignore primary health care and the most basic needs that they have, when in doing so, we put ourselves under added pressure to equip hospitals with bigger and more expensive machines,” Dr. Tufton argued.

Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says the Government is committed to ensuring that primary health care facilities, particularly in rural areas, are adequately equipped to properly serve the communities.

The Minister was speaking at the official launch of the five-year sponsorship programme for the Lambs River Health Centre in Westmoreland, by the Jamaica 55 Charities Group UK, under the Ministry of Health’s Adopt a Clinic Programme, on March 23.

Dr. Tufton said it is more cost effective and efficient to invest in resources required for primary health care facilities to undertake prevention work to curtail the prevalence of non-communicable diseases, as opposed to focusing on the far more costly curative aspect of medical care.

“The tools of trade at the primary health care level are far more inexpensive than the required infrastructure at the hospital level. And so, it is penny wise and pound foolish for us, as a country, to ignore primary health care and the most basic needs that they have, when in doing so, we put ourselves under added pressure to equip hospitals with bigger and more expensive machines,” Dr. Tufton argued.

“One of the big problems that we have in Jamaica in public health is that we only talk about health care from the curative side – how many hospital beds we have, how much we need, how many experts we have and how much we need – and very often we fall short, because no matter how developed you are as a country and no matter how much money you have, you will never have enough for public health if all you focus on is curing people when they are sick,” he added.

Dr. Tufton encouraged the Lambs River Health Centre staff to continue being diligent in their duties as this is fundamental to the overall approach to health and wellness across the country.

He said the Government recognises and values the hard work of primary care staff, which is critical to the preventative side of health care, contributing by far to fewer patients having to be admitted in the island’s hospitals.

“It is because of your work why we don’t have longer waiting times… more often than not you live in the community, so you know the people, you know their personal circumstances, you give advice and you give support,” he said.

Expressing her appreciation, Parish Manager of the Westmoreland Health Services, Novlin Leslie Little, told Dr. Tufton that she is grateful for his tenacity in moving Jamaica’s health sector forward.

“We are truly encouraged by your effort…ensuring that we are remembered and numbered among the first recipients,” she said.

“We are also grateful to the Jamaica 55 Charities Group UK for supporting the vision, evidenced by their tangible input. Their substantial contribution will indeed help in addressing some of the critical needs of this facility and, in so doing, benefit the community and its environs,” she added.

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