Jamaica’s health care system is expected to be fully transformed over the next 10 years.
Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says this undertaking will see changes in infrastructure, human resources, and a shift to a patient-centric and integrated model of care, noting that this will positively impact the lives of persons accessing the system’s services.
“This reform will revolutionise the health care landscape and is expected to have a great impact on morbidity and mortality for many years to come. This, however, will be no easy task [but] will be implemented over the next 10 years, in keeping with the Ministry of Health and Wellness’s 10-year strategic plan,” Dr. Tufton pointed out.
He was speaking during a ceremony for the adoption of the Montego Bay Comprehensive Type V Health Centre in St. James, on Friday (April 21).
The engagement is being facilitated under the Ministry’s Adopt-A-Clinic Programme.
Dr. Tufton said the Primary Health Care Reform for Jamaica 2021-2030 policy, signals the Government’s clear intention to meet the population’s changing health needs.
These, he pointed out, include “new requirements” for service delivery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Minister said the policy also details the Government’s vision for a re-imagined, comprehensive approach to improving primary care services across facilities, adding that the reform will also see physical infrastructure upgrading.
“The next decade is [going] to see the reorganisation of primary health care services to deliver on efficiency through an integrated health system network, replete with technologies that provide safe access to patient information, and which allows for information sharing among health care providers and toward universal health coverage,” he added.
“This means that a continuum of health promotion, disease prevention, diagnosis, treatment, disease management, rehabilitation and palliative care services should be within reach for all Jamaicans, in line with their needs,” the Minister further stated.
Dr. Tufton said the outcomes are, ultimately, expected to include earlier detection of non-communicable diseases with routine screening; earlier initiation of treatment, including lifestyle modifications; improved management through electronic access to health records, diagnostics, and therapeutic services; and a joined-up health system.
He also pointed out that the health care reform is expected to see improved compliance with treatment through enhanced community services, identifying and managing barriers to treatment, as well as a motivated and skilled workforce enabled by increased access to mentoring, supervision, and continuing education.
“Adopt-A-Clinic in alignment with Primary Care Reform Strategic alignment has always been part of our operations in public health, be it through international partners, Diaspora members or local private sector or voluntary players,” the Minister said.
Dr. Tufton said the initiative has been one of the driving forces enabling individuals and groups to contribute to improving healthcare service delivery at the primary care level adding that, so far, there have been over 40 adoptions in the last three years, with donor commitments totalling $184 million.
Consequently, he said the adoption of the Montego Bay Comprehensive Health Centre was a welcome gesture “to solidify the support and partnership of another of our outstanding contributors.”
“In this regard, I must say thanks to our donor partners, Petrojam Limited, without whom [today’s formal adoption exercise] would not be possible,” Dr. Tufton said
The Montego Bay Comprehensive Health Centre will now be the beneficiary of a $3 million donation over a three-year period.
This will facilitate the purchase of much needed clinical and office equipment as well as minor infrastructure upgrade and maintenance.
“It is more important than ever to provide needed support for our health centres, through efforts to finance their physical upgrade and to provide them with needed equipment to boost service offerings,” Dr. Tufton underscored.