Sun | Jan 23, 2022

Team effort keeps Gayle Health Centre ticking

Published:Tuesday | March 26, 2019 | 12:00 AMCarl Gilchrist/Gleaner Writer
From left: Sherrie Ellis-Wallace, Arleen Robinson-Wildman, and Dr Tamara Henry
Gayle Health Centre.
Clients at the Health Services Department
Sherrie Ellis-Wallace (seated) with Arleen Robinson-Wildman (left) and Dr Tamara Henry

Gayle is a rural farming community located in the western region of the parish St Mary on Jamaica’s northern coastline, with a population of just over 3,300.

The Gayle Health Centre, as a Type 3 facility, offers a wide range of services under the headings preventive, curative, pharmacy, environmental public health and laboratory.

The health centre caters to more than 1,500 persons on a monthly basis, drawn from its service areas of Gayle, Guy’s Hill, Jeffrey Town, Wood Park, Derry, Hunts Town, Retreat and Labyrinth.

The staff complement is varied to cover the range of services offered and includes two full-time medical doctors and a family nurse practitioner, who are complemented with curative and support staff of a public health nurse, two public health inspectors, a registered midwife, a specialist nurse, four community health aides, a health records technician, three health records clerks, a female attendant, a male attendant, a pharmacy technician and a visiting pharmacist.

Shortage of resources the most pressing problem

Sherrie Ellis-Wallace, parish manager, St Mary Health Services, leads a team that is very committed to offering the best possible healthcare to clients, even as there are limitations because of a shortage of equipment and space.

Ellis-Wallace, along with Dr Tamara Henry, medical officer of health, St Mary Health Services, and Arleen Robinson-Wildman, public health nurse with responsibility for Gayle health district, spoke with The Gleaner recently about working at the Gayle Health Centre.

“The operation is good at the moment; the only problem is resources,” Robinson-Wildman, who has worked at Gayle Health Centre for 10 years, pointed out. “Sometimes we have lack of resources needed to serve the clients effectively. That is the major problem I would say affecting the facility right now,” Robinson-Wildman said.

She added: “Sometimes because of the number of patients, they have to wait. If we have an emergency and the patient needs transport to another facility, for instance, the hospital, because we are here way up in the bushes, it’s difficult to get an ambulance to transport the patient quickly.

“My time here has been very hectic. The workload is a lot to deal with, but I’m coping. I try very much to satisfy the client. I like when they come and they get the service that they want and are satisfied.”

‘I appreciate the challenge’

For Dr Tamara Henry, who is happy to be back working in her birth parish, working at Gayle has been a learning experience. “It’s a lot to take in, but the team, though we have our challenges, we pull together and try to make it work. It has been a good experience, a wonderful experience that I’ve been growing from, so I appreciate the challenge,” Henry declared.

According to Sherrie Ellis-Wallace: “It is indeed a learning experience for me as well, and one to which I come each day with a positive attitude and outlook, to see in what way I can contribute. I am supported by a cooperative team right across the parish to assist with the responsibilities that I have to carry out. Services are offered by a team of dynamic, dedicated and committed staff.”

Functioning equipment at Gayle Health Centre include three autoclaves, four nebulizers, three blood pressure machines, a generator (manual), four examination beds. The centre has commenced procurement procedure for additional vital equipment such as patient monitors and fetal dopplers.


Functioning equipment at Gayle Health Centre includes:

• Three autoclaves

• Four nebulisers

• Three blood-pressure machines

• A generator (manual),

• Four examination beds.

The centre has commenced procurement procedure for additional vital equipment such as patient monitors and foetal dopplers.


Items that are currently needed to improve the delivery of healthcare services to clients and boost staff moral include:

• An electrocardiogram machine and supply of paper.

• One ambulance.

• Three examination beds.

• A 200 KVA automatic generator to serve as the alternative power supply.

• Two air-conditioning units – one for the dressing room and one for the health records department.

• An autoclave machine.

• Removable seating in outside waiting area.

• Patient chairs for the inside waiting area.

• Seating for the conference room.