JIS News

Prime Minister Bruce Golding has asked the Ministry of Health to explore the feasibility of increasing the number of specialist hospitals to provide a more strategic approach to treating those illnesses. Mr. Golding’s appeal comes against the background of statistics that show chronic non-communicable diseases accounting for more than half of the deaths in Jamaica and five of the top ten causes of deaths,
He was speaking today (June 25), at a national policy dialogue on non-communicable diseases, prevention and control, hosted by the Ministry of Health and Environment, in collaboration with the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO).
The Ministry of Health has been asked to provide guidance on whether the government should be looking at the creation of specialist hospitals, so as to inform the government’s public sector investment programme for the future. “My own thinking is that we need to move more and more to specialist hospital delivery rather than trying to spread our specialist capabilities across every parish and across every major hospital,” Mr. Golding said.
Mr. Golding said people would inevitably develop chronic non-communicable diseases whether lifestyle related or hereditary and that the health sector would have to be ready to respond. He said arising from today’s forum, the Ministry should present options for approaching the issue of specialist hospitals that are not only imperative, but realistic and affordable.
He said the government would await a submission from the Minster of Health and Environment as to what policy initiatives may be necessary to support this very important effort. “We want to get the country and people to a stage where they do not get sick when they don’t have to and where when we get sick, we do not die before we have to,” Mr. Golding stated. He expressed appreciation to the Pan-American Health Organization, the World Health Organization and other United Nations agencies and the United States Agency for International Development, for partnering with Jamaica in combating the challenges associated with chronic non-communicable diseases.
Today’s forum follows the September 2007 Regional Summit of Heads of Government of CARICOM on chronic non-communicable diseases at which leaders from across the region including Prime Minister Bruce Golding, signed a declaration aimed at stopping the epidemic. One of the tenets of the declaration is that Ministries of Health across the region would collaborate with other sectors in establishing comprehensive plans for the screening and management of chronic diseases and risk factors, so that by 2012, 80 per cent of affected persons would receive quality care and have access to preventative education.