PORT ANTONIO — Minister of State with responsibility for Local Government, Hon. Robert Montague, has outlined the Government’s vision of a new model for infirmaries to serve the country’s indigent.
Addressing the official opening of a Pig and Poultry Project at the St. Mary Infirmary in Port Maria, St. Mary, on May 27, Mr. Montague said the new model infirmaries will be smaller and closer to their communities, in order to provide the residents with a sense of being at home, rather than being in an institution.
The State Minister pointed out that government’s long term plan for the development of infirmaries includes siting one such facility in every constituency, built at a smaller size to accommodate fewer people, but providing greater opportunity for interaction with the community and possessing a greater ability to develop programmes of co-operation and support with the general public.
Stating that this plan also includes the establishment of private wards at some infirmaries, as is currently the case at the Falmouth infirmary, Mr. Montague said plans are afoot to provide every infirmary with a solar water heater and a solar panel during this financial year, to counter the high electricity costs faced by those institutions.
The poultry project, funded by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), was implemented as part of an overall programme of assistance being provided to a number of infirmaries islandwide by the FAO, in collaboration with the Department of Local Government to help them develop agricultural projects to supplement the diet of the residents as well as to provide income generation for those institutions.
In thanking the FAO for its assistance in realizing the pig and poultry project, the State Minister said its operation will also help to provide occupational therapy for the infirmary’s residents.
In her remarks, Assistant FAO Representative to Jamaica, Dr. Gillian Smith, said her organisation places a great deal of value on the project because of its ability to provide food for the infirmary’s.
She said the FAO was fully cognisant of the benefits associated with the self help projects it has assisted infirmaries to implement in their quest to be innovative and resourceful, adding that the organisation was pleased to have been able to play a role in the development of the pig and poultry venture at the St. Mary Infirmary.
Dr. Smith commended the St. Mary Parish Council and the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), for the co-operation and support they provided to make the project a reality.
By ASTON G. BAILEY, JIS Reporter