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Jamaicans flock public health facilities

Published:Friday | May 5, 2017 | 12:00 AMEdmond Campbell

Nearly 2.9 million Jamaicans visited public health facilities for medical care in 2016.

Of this number, a little more than 1.5 million visited the public health centres.

At the same time, almost 670,000 Jamaicans sought medical care at the accident and emergency and casualty departments, while close to 648,000 persons went to the hospital speciality outpatient departments. However, data for the Cornwall Regional Hospital for December 2016 were not available.

For the October to December quarter of 2016, there were 377,855 visits to health centres. This represents a negative 1.1 per cent reduction in the number of visits to health centres when compared with the similar quarter for October to December 2015.

Overall, visits to health centres increased by 4.9 per cent in 2016 over the similar period for 2015.

Data from the Ministry of Health revealed that almost one out of three visits was made for treatment of diabetes or hypertension or a combination of both. All non-communicable diseases accounted for 42 per cent of the visits to the health centres.

According to health ministry statistics, approximately two-thirds of the patients seen in the health centres with diabetes were in the 20 to 59-year age group. Among all persons seen with diabetes, 69.6 per cent were female. At the same time, females accounted for 75 per cent of persons with hypertension, with 52.4 per cent being over 60 years old.