Over 950 surgeries have been completed under the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ Code Care Project, an initiative aimed at clearing the country’s surgical backlog, cause mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Portfolio Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton, made the disclosure during his contribution to the 2023/24 Sectoral debate in the House of Representatives on (Wednesday (May 3).
“With only 50 per cent of our surgery target met, we will continue Code Care this year, with an additional 1,000 surgeries expected to be completed,” Tufton said.
The surgeries were undertaken through public-private partnerships involving eight private hospitals, short-term visiting medical missions primarily comprising operating theatre nurses from the diaspora, and special overtime sessions by local surgery health teams. The Government is expected to spend $750 million towards this effort.
“Despite the doubts, we have demonstrated that through creative thinking and determination we can join forces… to provide relief to hundreds of Jamaicans, who were suffering in silence or aloud for years waiting on badly needed surgery,” Tufton said.
The Minister commended the team at the Ministry, which worked to reduce the surgery backlog and particularly those who embraced the concept from the start, citing Clinical Coordinator at the Cornwall Regional Hospital, Dr Delroy Fray.
Tufton declared that Fray is a “healthcare hero who has given 38 years to save lives and now sits as an example of change for building health resilience”.
He noted that Code Care also includes the procurement of equipment and supplies and repair to vital infrastructure.
He said that the Government has started the work to repair 15 operating theatres, with cost estimates completed, and is now looking to procure contractors.