Jamaica News: Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, on Friday (December 6), announced a renewal programme for the country’s health centres, which will see the injection of 100 medical doctors in the public health system.
He also noted that at least 13 health centres will be upgraded in the first phase next year, and that the cost of the renewal programme is some US$9.5 million.
“Early in the new year, we’re going to be unveiling that renewal programme with a timeline for rollout,” the Minister said.
Dr. Tufton was speaking at the reopening of the renovated Stony Hill Health Centre, in St. Andrew.
Explaining what the renewal programme will entail, the Minister said it is about re-categorisation of health centres.
“Some 127 of the 320 centres will be recategorised, based on where they’re located, what the population centres look like, what the sick profile looks like and we are going to be focusing more on curative services at the primary level, in order to keep citizens out of the accident and emergency units, which are normally crowded, because that’s the only option that people think they have,” the Minister said.
Dr. Tufton indicated that the Government has already signed off on the money, which has been secured through a loan from the Inter-American Development Bank to upgrade the centres.
The centres that will benefit include Greater Portmore, St. Jago and Old Harbour Health Centres, in St. Catherine; Mocho, May Pen West, Chapelton and Lionel Town Health Centres, in Clarendon, and St. Ann’s Bay, Ocho Rios and Brown’s Town Health Centres in St. Ann.
“We are now at the stage where Cabinet has just approved the design firm that is going to now go into these facilities and redesign and do the architectural work, so that we can have construction beginning in the new year and over the next few years,” the Minister said.
The Stony Hill Health Centre was recently renovated, expanded and equipped at a cost of $80 million. The six-month expansion work was funded by the National Health Fund, through its Institutional Benefits Fund Programme.
Source: JIS News