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The National Health Fund (NHF) has provided a grant of $10.4 million to the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) for the purchase of equipment, which will assist public health inspectors to carry out health inspections.
The new equipment, which will assist in the assessment of water quality, food including meat, and carrying out quarantine inspections, were handed over at a special function held yesterday (Feb.16) at the Regional Health Authority offices on Dominica Drive in Kingston.
Dr. Eugenie Brown-Myrie, board member of the NHF, said that the work of public health inspectors, in protecting the health of the public, was hardly acknowledged until a problem developed. She said however, that the professionals remained vigilant in carrying out their duties and did so with the utmost integrity and professionalism.
“This is hard to do when there is a shortage of critical pieces of equipment. The grant from the National Health Fund of over $10 million to purchase new equipment will support the work of public health inspectors in this the largest health region in Jamaica,” she stated.
Dr. Brown-Myrie further informed that the grant for new equipment was only part of a larger allocation, totaling $26.8 million, which had been made to SERHA to support health care delivery in the region. The money has been used to introduce a secure food handlers permit system and to computerize the region’s health departments.
She said the funding provided by the NHF was making a difference not only to health care in the south-east region but also right across the island, as the Fund has approved projects valued at over $2.4 billion.
“While the NHF provides the funds, it is our health care workers such as public health inspectors, who will have custody of these new investments and who will have to ensure that the equipment, the infrastructure put in place with NHF funding is properly utilized and maintained,” she stated.
SERHA is a statutory body of the Ministry of Health and is one of four regional health authorities formed as a part of the Health Sector reform, by passage of the National Health Services Act in 1997.
SERHA is responsible for the delivery of health care services to the residents of St. Catherine, St. Thomas, Kingston and St. Andrew, which represents 47 per cent of the population.