Jamaica News: Health Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says a paradigm shift is needed in the way public health is administered.
Speaking at the ‘Make Jamaica Well Again’ Appreciation Dinner and Awards Ceremony, organised by WordAlive Medical Mission, at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, New Kingston, on Thursday (August 30), Dr. Tufton said part of that shift involves forging and strengthening partnerships.
“That principle has to be extended at a much larger level as it relates to public health within our country. We see some 200-plus missions supporting public health initiatives in Jamaica each year. We have to do more to cater to, accommodate, invite, and support more of that collaboration,” he stated.
The Minister pointed out that the State is unlikely to ever be in a position to do enough to meet the demand for public healthcare delivery, based on the “challenges that we face”.
“The second thing is advocacy. I am of the view that beyond giving a clinical prescription as to how to correct the ills of the body, we have to spend more time influencing the thought process of individuals, in terms of what is right and what is wrong,” Dr. Tufton argued.
He further said advocacy has to be supported at all levels of society and not just legislatively.
“I come under a little attack or pressure sometimes when I speak of the restriction of certain food items within the schools, because it sounds as if you beating up on an industry. But frankly speaking, we have to see ourselves as guardians of trying to influence behavioural change,” he stated.
The Minister added that “certainly, as it relates to our young people in schools, they need to be guided; we have an obligation to provide that guidance and we do that in partnership and collaborations with others”.
Dr. Tufton also noted that there is need to refocus on primary healthcare, with emphasis on advocacy for persons to stay out of hospitals, while noting that many times, this discussion does not enter the narrative discourse.
“So the demonstrations (and) complaints are [about the need to] build more hospitals. Well, in building more hospitals, you will never ever satisfy the need if you don’t get people to adjust their behaviour, and that behavioural change has to come from the very basic primary community,” the Minister stated.
The 2018 Medical Mission, which started August 27, will conclude today (August 31) in St. Catherine with the host venue being the Work and Faith International Fellowship in Spanish Town.
Since Monday (August 27), hundreds of citizens from the community have received free healthcare, medication, food, school bags and food care packages.
Source: JIS News