Cabbrina Lennox, Gleaner Writer
PORT MARIA, St Catherine:THE RESIDENTS of Highgate, St Mary, are expected to get quicker responses to ambulance service after the community received a spanking new medical vehicle.
In celebration of Jamaica's 50th anniversary of Independence, the North East Regional Health Authority, in collaboration with the United Friends of Highgate, presented the Highgate Health Centre with an ambulance at a handover ceremony held at the facility earlier this week.
The donation came due to the absence of the health resource in the community of Highgate, which had to rely on ambulance service from Port Maria and Annotto Bay hospitals.
Paul Fyffe, councillor for the division and deputy mayor, commended the organisation for its continued contribution to the parish.
"We at the St Mary Parish Council are very grateful for the contribution that they are giving to not only the Highgate community, but they have extended themselves in other areas," said Fyffe.
He added: "Health care is critical to all of us and we must thank the United Friends of Highgate, Ground Zero and Florida Chapter for seeing it fit that this health centre is indeed in need of additional transport, especially as it relates to the services of an ambulance.
Fyffe said while he recognised that the ambulance will not serve only the Highgate community, he warned the other partners in the Ministry of Health that Highgate should be the priority.
"Health care cannot do without partners like the United Friends of Highgate, because all of these activities, the Government will not be able to provide all the resources to carry out health care in the way it ought to be done.
The ambulance will be housed at the Port Maria Hospital.
improved health-care delivery
Chairman of the Board for the North East Regional Health Authority, Leon Gordon, in thanking the group for its contribution, said the ambulance is the first point of contact in health-care delivery.
Dr Morais Guy, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing and member of parliament for Central St Mary, lauded the group for its contribution to nation building.
"In assisting this piece of the rock by providing an ambulance to assist with the well-being of the citizens of the parish is indeed a gesture that is very commendable, and we give you heartiest congratulation in doing that," said Dr Guy.
The group, which encompasses the United Friends of Highgate, Ground Zero and the Florida Chapter, has embarked on numerous projects under the guidance of the Reverend Seymour Hutchinson, president of the local chapter, and Lorrimer Burford, president of the Florida Chapter, to aid the citizens of Highgate in the field of health care, among other things.
"Our focus is Highgate, but our health-care mission extend beyond Highgate. We intend to serve the surrounding community of Richmond, Guy's Hill, Port Maria, Annoto Bay and others. Together, we will achieve our goal," said Jannett Matthews, spokeswoman of Friends of Highgate.