Health services under pressure
Scores of asthmatics and persons with other respiratory problems were turned away by health professionals at public-health clinics when they got into difficulties caused by smoke from the Riverton City Landfill, which has overwhelmed the city over the past few days.
Janice, a mother of six, was sent scurrying to a clinic in Drewsland, West Central St Andrew, after the smoke from the burning dump descended on the community in which she lives. Like many others, Janice said she was turned away because of an unavailability of a drug known as Ventolin that is marketed in Jamaica. This has forced the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) to move with dispatch to put additional measures in place to deal with the current health conditions being experienced by citizens in the Corporate Area and environs in the wake of the fire at the Riverton City Landfill.
Chairman of the SERHA board, Dr Andrei Cooke confirmed late yesterday that in light of the ongoing environmental challenges, some hospitals and health centres were experiencing an increase in the demand for services, particularly for respiratory conditions.
"We have been instructed by the Minister of Health Dr Fenton Ferguson to activate SERHA's Emergency Operation Centre, which is being manned by the regional technical team, to streamline and coordinate our response efforts," Cooke said.
"In addition, some health centres will remain open over the weekend, starting at 8 a.m., in anticipation of the number of persons that are likely to require urgent health-care services during this period, should the prevailing conditions continue."