Rural health care gets ambulance boost
MAY PEN, Clarendon:
The primary health-care system received a well-needed boost to its ailing fleet of ambulances recently with the addition of six new state-of-the-art vehicles fully equipped with life-saving tools and medical equipment.
The ambulances, purchased under the European Union, funded project, Programme for the Reduction of Maternal and Child Mortality at a cost of €631,162, were officially handed over at a ceremony held on the grounds of the Clarendon Health Department.
Currently, there are 64 ambulances in the system, but 31 (or 48 per cent) are out of service.
The six ambulances are expected to improve infant and maternal patient transfer between primary health-care facilities and hospital emergency care centres. It is also expected to improve overall access to health care, especially for rural patients.
The targeted facilities include four selected health-care facilities: one in each region and two community hospitals. They are the Mandeville, St Jago Park, Annotto Bay and Savanna-la-Mar health centres and the Chapelton and Alexandria community hospitals.
Minister of Heath Dr Christopher Tufton said the ministry took a strategic decision to increase its ability to provide better access to vital maternal and infant health care.
"Of the six beneficiaries, Chapelton stands out in our minds because very few of us will forget the horrifying story of a mother who was forced to deliver her newborn under the most unfortunate circumstances after she turned up at the facility in 2016," he noted, adding that no woman or user of the health-care system should ever be subjected to such a less-than-ideal situation again.
According to Malgorzata Wasilewska, head of Delegation of the European Union, the ambulances will help women, especially in rural Jamaica, get emergency medical care which can make the difference between life and death for mother and child.
"Having access to timely, high-quality health care in a comfortable environment will ensure that women in rural communities are able to access the same quality care as those in areas like Kingston and St Andrew."