JIS News

Minister of Health and Environment, Rudyard Spencer, has said that special attention is being paid to the primary health care system, in light of the commitment by the Government that there will be free health care for Jamaicans as of April 1.
“We are looking at our clinics, because with the rolling out, it is going to require significantly more personnel, more sessions must be done, and plants must be upgraded. You are going to need more money to purchase more pharmaceuticals; all these things must be done and will be done by April 1,” Mr. Spencer said.
The Minister was delivering the third Hugh Lawson Shearer Memorial Lecture, at the 14th International Diabetes Conference on March 8, at the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort in Montego Bay.
Mr. Spencer said there are plans to discuss the matter exhaustively with all the partners and stakeholders involved in health service delivery, so as to arrive at a common purpose and a common approach shared by all, with a view to moving forward with the abolition of user fees without any problems.
Acknowledging that this move would cost the government a lot of money, the Minister pointed to the necessity of repositioning the primary health care sector, as this was the indisputable foundation of a good health system across the island.
Minister Spencer argued that there is an inescapable link between well-being and development, adding that where there is good health and sustainable livelihoods, the country protects wage earners, improves productivity, and safeguards attendance at school.
He emphasized that the new global era of health and environment demands a different social infrastructure on which the essential planks of the economy must be built.
The conference was staged through the collaborative effort of the University of the West Indies (UWI), University of Technology (UTech) and Northern Caribbean University, under the umbrella of the University Diabetes Outreach Programme.
Approximately 650 delegates attended the three-day conference, which ended March 9.
The memorial lecture was a tribute to the Most Honourable Hugh Lawson Shearer, who was Prime Minister of Jamaica between 1967 and 1972.

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