HEALTH MINISTER Dr Fenton Ferguson is expressing confidence in the health sector after the latest leg in his health centre and hospital tours.
The minister and other sector stakeholders toured the cardiac centre under construction at the Bustamante Hospital for Children (BHC), and the Edna Manley Health Centre in Grants Pen on Friday.
"What I am seeing here at Edna Manley represents best practice as we develop centres of excellence in primary care," he said.
Ferguson said the centre, opened in 2006, was now three times its original size. He noted it was built at the time of an anti-crime initiative in the area, a collaboration among different government ministries.
"I think to many of us who were around at that time, it is very clear that this experiment, in terms of what took place in Grants Pen, significantly impacted on the crime situation and the instability in this area," he said.
"This is a model that, as expensive as it might appear, I certainly believe should be replicated right across the country."
He said the cost of crime and violence-related injuries amounted to about $2 billion annually.
Ferguson anticipates the state-of-the-art cardiac centre at BHC will greatly reduce the number of cardiac patients waiting for surgery.
"With today's visit … and when you think of what is to come with our cancer-care programme, Jamaica is on a solid path in spite of the challenges."
Ferguson said next Friday, a new ward at the Savanna-la-Mar Hospital would be commissioned. The completion of Phase One of the Darliston Centre of Excellence is also expected. The Santa Cruz facility was recently opened, and Ferguson said the Isaac Barrant Clinic in St Thomas, the third of four centres of excellence, should be opened before the current financial year ends. The fourth, in Claremont, St Ann, is expected by the end of next year.
The minister also promised clinics would be opened in Rocky Point and James Hill, both in Clarendon.