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Minister of Health, John Junor has commended the National Health Fund(NHF) for the role it is playing to reduce the burden of health care in the country.
Giving the main address at the official opening of a new pharmacy and out-patient department at the Port Antonio Hospital on October 6, Mr. Junor said the NHF had not only been assisting in providing funds for the much needed refurbishing and upgrading of the country’s health infrastructure, but was also facilitating the upgrading and replacing of equipment throughout the system.
The pharmacy and the out-patient department were constructed and refurbished with funds provided by the NHF, as part of the continuing effort to enhance the hospital’s ability to provide quality health care for its patients and the people of the communities it serves.
Mr. Junor said the NHF has also been funding the training of various health professionals, including nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapists and midwives, as health professionals must constantly be provided with training to enable them to stay at the top of their profession, and to deliver quality service.
The Minister pointed out that more than $200 million has been provided in this year’s budget for that purpose, with another $150 million requested over the next three years.
He noted that the NHF has been implementing a number of projects throughout the country to improve the delivery of health care, with five of these at various stages of completion. These include the renovation of the St. Ann’s Bay Hospital operating theatre, post Hurricane Ivan reconstruction work at the Annotto Bay Hospital, staff training, computer equipment and supplies, and the provision of equipment and software to create and manage a new food handler’s permit system.
These projects are being undertaken at a cost of $98 million in collaboration with the North Eastern Regional Health Authority.
The Minister also pointed out that plans have been approved by the NHF Board for the construction of a new health clinic in Highgate St. Mary.
Construction of the new facilities at the Port Antonio Hospital was done at a cost of $6.6 million.