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Published:Wednesday | July 9, 2014 | 12:00 AM
The Sickle Cell Trust of Mandeville was one of the beneficiaries of proceeds raised from the 2014 Sagicor Sigma Corporate Run. A cheque for $1.5 million was presented to the institution during Sagicor's visit to the trust's Mandeville operations. Here, Felicea Gibson (left), laboratory technician at the Sickle Cell Trust, Mandeville, briefs Suzette Shaw-Reid (right), assistant manager of public relations at Sagicor, about the trust's laboratory equipment last week. Working in the background is Ruth-Ann Gardener, laboratory technician.

Health ministry to develop trauma plan for north coast

The Ministry of Health is currently exploring plans for the development of the North-West Corridor Trauma Plan, which is a proposal to expand the corridor from Negril to St Ann to improve trauma care.

Under the plan, the capacity of the St Ann's Bay, Falmouth, Cornwall Regional, and Noel Holmes hospitals and the Negril Health Centre will be improved to ensure that they are able to effectively manage trauma cases and accept referrals, where necessary.

Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson, who made the announcement last week during the Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, said a plan would also be developed to address any major gaps in emergency health care.

Describing the proposed development as "one of the most important investments in health care in this part of the island," the minister said it also forms part of Government's plans to develop Jamaica's health tourism sector.

He informed that the National Health Fund (NHF) is leading a team of funders for the proposal to pool resources. These include the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) and the Culture, Health, Art, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund, as well as private interests.

Ferguson also noted that Government is finalising plans to build a child and adolescent hospital in western Jamaica. He said the ministry is leading the establishment of an interministerial group to provide guidance to the process.

NHF assumes operation of three public hospital pharmacies

The National Health Fund (NHF) has assumed the operations of three hospital pharmacies, with the latest being Percy Junor Hospital pharmacy, which officially came under NHF management on June 30. Other pharmacies recently taken over by the NHF are Bustamante Hospital for Children and the Port Maria Hospital pharmacies.

All pharmacies were renovated prior to the official take-over. Renovations included an increase in the number of dispensing windows, expansion or refurbishment of waiting areas, new equipment and the addition of confidential areas to facilitate private consultations between patients and pharmacists.

"The NHF is committed to excellence in customer satisfaction and in the quality delivery of our pharmacy services. Contracts amounting to $37 million were signed for refurbishing of NHF pharmacies, a Pharmacy and Inventory Management System is being installed and new pharmacists employed," said Everton Anderson, chief executive officer of the NHF.

"These initiatives will provide a more pleasant experience for patients, including significant reductions in waiting time, improve working environment for staff and ensure compliance with Pharmacy Council of Jamaica regulations."

Three other hospital pharmacies are currently undergoing refurbishment: the existing Drug Serv pharmacies at the Black River and May Pen Hospitals and the Kingston Public Hospital pharmacy, which should be ready for NHF takeover by September.