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Health system facing death sentence - Malahoo Forte

Published:Friday | February 27, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Malahoo Forte

Marlene Malahoo Forte, opposition spokesperson for health, has declared that Jamaica's public health system is in far worse condition than has been depicted by recent media reports.

Malahoo Forte said in a release that she noted a severe shortage of necessary supplies, including medicine and machines, accompanied by deplorable and unsanitary conditions in many hospitals and health centres, demotivated and inadequate staff, amount to a death sentence on the system.

"The Jamaica Labour Party Opposition acknowledges the announced increase in budgetary allocation to the Ministry of Health for the 2015-2016 financial year as right-sounding, and expects that the funds will be made available in a timely manner," Malahoo Forte said. "At the same time, we are firmly of the view that in addition to more funds being made available in the short term, long-term sustainable financing and a comprehensive review of the entire public-health system must be embarked upon, without further delay."

The Government has proposed to spend $50 billion on the health sector over the 2015-2016 financial year, almost $8 billion more than was allocated for the previous period.

Malahoo Forte argued that with the renewed and lingering concerns about the crippling effects of the chikungunya epidemic on so many households and businesses and threats and outbreak of other diseases, Jamaicans do not believe that Health Minister Fenton Ferguson has what it takes to guide the way forward.

"The public has lost confidence in him because of his contemptible exercise of leadership, particularly over the past eight months," she said.

Malahoo Forte said she would continue her fact-finding work with visits to hospitals and health centres across the island, as well as meetings with stakeholders.