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Story Highlights

  • Approximately 20,000 residents of communities in south western St. Andrew and its environs will now benefit from the upgraded Oak Glade Health Centre.
  • The facility was upgraded at a cost of $33.98 million.
  • The type-three health centre was equipped and retrofitted by the NHF and the CHASE Fund.

Approximately 20,000 residents of communities in south western St. Andrew and its environs will now benefit from improved health services with the upgrading and renovation of the Oak Glade Health Centre at a cost of $33.98 million.

The upgraded facility, located on Haile Selassie Drive, was officially opened by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller and Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, during a special ceremony on November 15.

The type-three health centre was equipped and retrofitted by the National Health Fund (NHF) and the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports, and Education (CHASE) Fund, while work on the plant was completed by the United States Air Force in 2011.

Mrs. Simpson Miller, who is also Member of Parliament for the area, assured that there will be a further expansion of the facility “in very short order”.

“Proper health care is not an option, it is an imperative. We should try to take health care to the people in their natural environment, so that they go to the hospital only when it is absolutely necessary,” she stated.

The Prime Minister further implored members of the community to protect and take care of the facility. “This is your centre, you have a responsibility to ensure the protection and security of this centre… by doing this, you will be protecting yourself …and the health of your children,” she said.

For his part, Dr. Ferguson said the rehabilitation and development of the health centre forms part of the Health Ministry’s emphasis on strengthening the primary health care system, which also speaks to the Government’s strategic priorities for fiscal year 2013/2014.

“We have been moving forward with this across the island. So far, we have completed work on over 100 health centres and we are far ahead in the development of the four centres of excellence in primary health care,” he stated.

He noted that centres of excellence, one in each region, will become the examples of best practice in primary health care. “In the future, we hope to build similar facilities that will improve access to holistic care in communities across the island,” the Minister said.

Dr. Ferguson also expressed gratitude to the United States Air force for the initial work at the facility, as well as the CHASE Fund, South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA), and the NHF for “building on that foundation to produce what we have here today”.

Board Chairman, SERHA, Lyttleton Shirley, said that the Oak Glades Health Centre is a first class facility, which will provide community members with quality health care.

He commended the work of the Health Ministry as it continues its drive to bolster primary health care services, not only to better serve the needs of the population, but to ease the burden on secondary health care facilities.

Mr. Shirley informed that one of SERHA’s main goals is to ensure that all patients, who seek treatment, can do so in an atmosphere that promotes the delivery of quality health care.

“Against this background, SERHA will continue to focus on upgrading our infrastructure in order to effectively serve our patients. We have already overhauled 56 of the now 90 health centres, which fall under our jurisdiction, and we hope to continue this drive, which is in keeping with the Ministry’s thrust in respect to primary health care,” he stated.

Board Chairman, NHF, Sterling Soares, said the agency continues to play a pivotal role in the improvement of public health facilities, such as hospitals and clinics; as well as the upgrading of vital equipment and bringing health facilities up to acceptable world standards.