Fri | Sep 22, 2017

Make health centres first stop

Published:Friday | July 7, 2017 | 7:00 AMChristopher Serju
Dr Christopher Tufton (second right), minister of health, and Portia Simpson Miller (right), former prime minister and member of parliament for South West St Andrew, cut the ribbon at the official reopening of the Hagley Park Health Centre at 118 Hagley Park Road on Tuesday. Looking on is Everton Anderson (left), chief executive officer for the National Health Fund, and Maureen Golding, regional director, South East Regional Health Authority.

Maureen Golding, regional director of the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) has challenged Jamaicans to view local health centres as their first point of contact for primary health care treatment in light of ongoing improvements in the health care centres network.

The SERHA, she told, Tuesday's official reopening ceremony for the upgraded Hagley Park Health Centre, 118 Hagley Park Road, remains committed to renovation of all health-care facilities in its remit, and is making progress in its ongoing drive to improve the overall health delivery for all.

"It is imperative to highlight that primary health care is the first point of service in the health care chain reaction. As such we encourage all our patients to seize the opportunity to access the care we offer in our health centres.

"Ladies and gentlemen, most of the times the wait is less and it's just a stone's throw away from home. For example, if a child has a common cold, take the child to see the doctor at the health centre. There is no need to spend money to go all the way a Bustamante Hospital for Children. It is best you access your care right in your community," she appealed.

"The board of directors, management and staff of the South East Regional Health Authority remain committed to the delivery of patient care and will not rest until our patients experience the highest quality care attainable at our health facilities, through excellent customer service and the compassionate care consistently," Golding vowed.

Partnership with private pharmacies paying off

Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton said that the public sector partner pilot programme under which patients no longer need to go to public hospital or Drug Serv Pharmacy to access National Health Fund Drugs is beginning to pay off.

"The partnership with private pharmacies is providing greater access to pharmaceutical supplies across the island, providing patients with more outlets to fill their prescription. The aim is to reduce waiting time and improve overall customer experience (and) since the start of the programme last year, more than 19,000 prescriptions have been filled," Tufton said.

Portia Simpson Miller, former Prime Minister and former member of parliament for the South West St Andrew constituency in which the health centre is located, reminded residents of their responsibility to protect the $42 million investment, highlighting as she did, some of the features.

"In addition to roof and floors there are covered walkways and awnings, new sanitary facilities, air conditioning, fire safety features and access for disabled persons. I know the elderly will appreciate the convenience of the pharmacy services. That is a big investment in this community. Do not allow anyone to destroy anywhere or anything at this facility.

"It is here to serve you the citizens of this community and surrounding communities. Do not allow anyone to destroy it. We want to build up, not tear down. Watch it and ensure that it is not vandalised. Health is not valued until sickness comes. This facility is one such insurance to help you and your family, stay healthy," the former Prime Minister advised.