Volunteerism important to public healthcare - Tufton
Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton has lauded the management of the Black River Hospital for what he says is the group's vision and unwavering efforts in enabling the establishment of the Black River Hospital Foundation.
Addressing the launch in St Elizabeth last week, Tufton said the management committee went above and beyond their core mandate to get the charitable organisation up and running.
"Frankly speaking, you never had to do this. You could have maintained the status quo, followed through on your terms of reference, which were given to you, and done a good job at it ,but not go the extra mile to have taken on this added burden and initiative. And from that perspective, I really want to recognise you for making that effort," he noted.
He added that the setting up of the body seeks to incorporate the spirit of voluntarism in healthcare.
"The truth is that anywhere in the world that you go, whether it is the most developed countries of the world ... hospitals or institutions or causes which succeed are those that have aligned themselves with persons, who believe in and work for the cause without expecting monetary return in exchange," Tufton pointed out.
He said that the hospital has performed extremely well in providing healthcare services for residents, despite operating in a marketplace that is much larger than its carrying capacity and infrastructure.
He noted that the facility serves approximately 30,000 outpatients annually, as well as 6,000 inpatients.
Chairman of the hospital, Violet Foster Russell, explained that the body was established out of a need to provide support to the services being offered at the hospital.
She noted that the foundation's members are drawn from a wide cross section of people from St Elizabeth.
"This organisation will, therefore, consist of a broad spectrum of persons who are passionate about improving the community, and are of the view that in order to enhance any society, healthcare has to be a primary focus," she said.
"Black River has always been described as a sleepy town, but through this initiative, this town shall be awakened," she added.
Among the objectives of the foundation are to support and enhance health in St Elizabeth and mobilise, encourage and maintain the interest of the public in the well-being of patients at the Black River Hospital.
The support will extend to the St Elizabeth Health Services through the provision of funds, services and amenities.
Foster Russell said the organisation is also mandated to provide a forum to facilitate discussion and raise awareness on matters related to health services; provide funding for the renovation, construction and or expansion of infrastructure to support the delivery of healthcare for the people of St Elizabeth and its environs; to establish and maintain collaborative relationships and associations with voluntary bodies; and to raise funds and meet the financial needs of the association.