KINGSTON — Minister of Health, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, has re-affirmed the Government’s commitment to a healthy and stable Jamaican population, through the repositioning of primary health care.
He said this is evident in the execution of the National Health Fund (NHF)-financed $300 million Health Centre Renewal Programme, over the past two years, which has targetted some 60 primary healthcare facilities for refurbishing.
Speaking at the official re-opening of one of the facilities, the Olympic Gardens Health Centre in Kingston, on Friday, April 15, Mr. Spencer articulated the “inextricable link” between health and development, noting that this is part of government’s strategic development plans.
"We are of the firm belief that the Jamaican people must have unrestricted access to quality and basic health services. This concentration on primary health care is also a call for us to pay attention to our overall health, which starts with ensuring that our children’s health is properly maintained," Mr. Spencer said.
Noting that Jamaica has maintained "relatively high" immunisation rates, including 90 per cent coverage in 2009, Mr. Spencer said this was a commendable achievement, especially in an environment of great financial challenges. He said that Jamaica’s comprehensive immunisation programme has resulted in the elimination of diseases like polio, and reducing the threat of rubella, measles, and tuberculosis.
Mr. Spencer said the Child Health and Development Passport, implemented by the Ministry last September, will figure in improving the immunisation rate, in addition to the overall growth and development of the nation’s children.
The Olympic Gardens Health Centre was refurbished at a cost of approximately $12.6 million, through grant funding from the National Health Fund (NHF). It is one of 13 clinics in the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA), which covers Kingston and St. Andrew, selected for repair.
A Type III facility, serving over 300 patients, it provides a range of services, including family health, incorporating antenatal and postnatal provisions; child health, nutrition, family planning and immunisation, curative, dental and environmental health; child guidance and mental health.
By DOUGLAS McINTOSH, JIS Reporter