Tue | Aug 14, 2018

Letter of the Day: Health sector in need of life-saving surgery

Published:Wednesday | May 6, 2015 | 12:00 AM


A recent Gleaner report outlining more inadequacies in Jamaica's health sector has apparently irked the People's National Party 'massive' everywhere and the criticisms of the Jamaica Medical Doctors' Association (JMDA) president, Dr Alfred Dawes, have taken on (as expected) political overtones.

The good doctor is apparently out of line for bringing to the nation's attention the unhealthy conditions that exist within the island's health facilities, armed with mountains of corroborating evidence to support his charges.

Dr Dawes' detailing of the debilitating conditions at hospitals makes a mockery of all the rhetoric being presented in governmental media pronouncements.

The charges are damning! If we can, for a moment, divest ourselves of our political biases and think of doctors being given 'scandal bags' instead of surgical aprons to do their work in operating theatres, or the non-availability of a basic surgical mask, or being asked to resterilise disposable equipment as there is no replacement available, we should then begin to get the picture.

Our heath-care system is in critical need of attention, and one has to be blind to not be able to see this.

The role of Government is to provide for the health and safety of its population. In this regard, Jamaica has failed miserably. The decrepit state of health facilities feeds into the psyche of anyone who works in the sector, as working conditions are a critical element in motivating employees.




In the circumstances, we are left to wonder how delivery of successful patient care can ever be obtained in such an environment. And let us not even venture into the area of remuneration at all levels of the sector.

It is time that Jamaicans recognise the need to shed the political posturing, lock arms together, and demand a comprehensive overhaul of health care.

Clearly, my friend, Dr Fenton Ferguson's, personal handicap was even greater than imagined, and I am convinced that his vision of health-care delivery is way below what can be considered as meeting even minimum acceptable standards.

The time has come to not only jettison Ferguson, but to also create a doable health-care programme that addresses basic public health and incorporates basic preventative health-care approaches. At the treatment level, provide material and equipment at the regional hospitals and ensure that they deliver a basic level of treatment and care, even with very limited resources.



Coral Springs, Florida