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Tufton orders audit into state of bathrooms at public health facilities

Published:Tuesday | December 6, 2022 | 3:07 PM
Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton speaking at the reopening of the renovated Chapelton Community Hospital in Clarendon on December 6, 2022. Rudolph Brown photo.

Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton says the Government will be conducting audits of sanitary facilities within public hospitals and health centres.

Tufton's comments come days after a Sunday Gleaner probe revealed a breakdown in sanitation and maintenance at 11 of Jamaica's public health facilities.

READ: Unsanitary!

The health minister was speaking on Tuesday at the reopening ceremony and launch of the compassionate care programme at the Chapelton Community Hospital in northern Clarendon.

The hospital was renovated at a cost of $309 million.

Tufton stated that healthcare management staff have a mandate of ensuring the upkeep of bathrooms at the facilities.

"Coming on the heels of the exposé with one media house, I have written to the regional health authorities to spend some time in the coming days and weeks to assess our bathroom facilities, particularly those which are opened to out-patient care, because those are the ones that have been exposed as inadequate in many cases," Tufton told The Gleaner.

He added that the planned assessment will seek to unearth the current infrastructural state of the facilities, the availability of essential commodities including water, and a monitoring mechanism that will see the upkeep of the facilities.

"We spend literally hundreds of millions of dollars each year to private providers, for the most part, to take care of cleaning and portering, which includes the sanitary conveniences. They have a contract and a responsibility, [but] we ultimately have a responsibility to make sure they perform, and the managers on the ground have that primary burden and we must hold them to account, so a part of my letter is to say, 'Do your job, your approach it is inadequate, and strengthen than approach if you think it's inadequate," Tufton told The Gleaner.

Citing the maintenance of the facilities as everyone's business, the minister also charged members of the public also have a responsibility in the venture.

- Olivia Brown

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