Food For The Poor (FFP) Jamaica on Tuesday handed over well-needed health-care supplies to the Ministry of Health at a special presentation ceremony at the Ellerslie Pen, Spanish Town office of the charity. On hand to receive the donations was Minister of Health Dr Fenton Ferguson.
The gifts included 200 wheelchairs, 40 hospital beds, four operating theatre lights and two stretchers. FFP also provided 51 sofas for use in the reception areas, grief counselling facilities, and consultation units at hospitals. The lounge area for medical personnel at hospitals will also benefit from the sofas.
Addressing the hand-over ceremony, Jacqueline Johnson, executive director, FFP Jamaica, stated that the donation was another signal of the charity's commitment to assist the ministry with its mandate of ensuring the provision of quality health services and the promotion of healthy lifestyles and environmental practices.
"We know it will be a significant boost to the resources in hospitals across the island," asserted Johnson. "These items donated through the goodwill of many altruistic supporters of Food For The Poor will assist the Ministry of Health, its regional health authorities, and related organisations as you work to deliver quality health care islandwide."
enhancing public health
Johnson pointed out that since its inception in 1983, FFP has been enhancing public health and improving patient care, especially to the poor. She reported that during 2012, FFP distributed health-care supplies valued at $3.1 billion to health centres and hospitals, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), infirmaries and schools. "This is an increase from $2.9 billion in 2011," stated Johnson. Items distributed include pharmaceuticals (chronic disease medicines, antibiotics, pain medicines), health-care equipment (hospital beds, ventilators, dental chairs, wheelchairs, suction machines) and medical supplies (gloves, masks, gowns, syringes, cotton, gauze).
At its annual health fair in March of last year, FFP provided some 2000 individuals with various medical services, including dental and medical examinations.
Expressing appreciation for Tuesday's donation, Ferguson commended FFP and cited the charity as one of the ministry's long-standing partners in health care, which has never neglected to lend assistance in any way it can. He said the FFP contribution of health-care items was an example of what it means to work together to meet the obligations to the people of this country, "as we continue the fine tradition of partnership and cooperation in the provision of health services to the people of Jamaica".
The health minister continued, "This donation exemplifies the true spirit of philanthropy and a sincere commitment to work in tandem with the Government to help develop the country. It also signifies recognition that putting the nation's interest at heart is not a job for the Government alone. I hope that other organisations will use this as an inspiration to get involved and follow suit."
challenge to organisations
Underscoring the need to build strong partnerships in addressing the urgent issues facing Jamaica, Dr Ferguson challenged every organisation to "adopt a particular area" in which it can make significant headway in improving the lives of needy Jamaicans.
He said the FFP donation comes at a time when the Government has been working towards improving the health-care system by providing additional equipment and supplies to those facilities. The Equipment Performance Task Force, which was established by Dr Ferguson in January last year, was charged with the development of a framework for the optimal use of medical equipment and to help to standardise equipment for use in the health sector. The health minister reported that the first set of recommendations for standardisation of equipment supported the ministry's application to the National Contracts Commission (NCC).
"The NCC has given its approval for X-ray units, patient monitors and autoclaves. We are pleased with that achievement and look forward to other similar approvals as it relates to standards for other equipment used in our facilities," remarked the health minister.
Among persons participating in the hand-over ceremony were: Hurley Taylor, consultant/adviser to the minister of health; Ambassador Marjorie Taylor of the health ministry; Jennifer Tomlinson, director of finance, FFP; Deacon Ron Burgess, senior director- recipient services, FFP; and Susan Moore, director of recipient services, FFP.