Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton has charged Jamaicans to greatly utilise services provided at health centres so that hospitals can concentrate on major emergencies.
The minister said a crisis exists at the hospitals where they are treating lifestyle illnesses that are preventable and should be dealt with at the health centres, which are also equipped to educate the population on ways to remain healthy and keep common ailments at manageable levels.
“We have a crisis of over demand on our hospital system, because premature mortality and early signs of sickness are placing great burden on the system,” Minister Tufton said while addressing an official Adopt-A-Clinic ceremony for the Sunrise Health Centre on Red Hills Road, St Andrew last Friday (February 24).
The facility has been adopted by Jamaican-born Patrick Lai Fatt, who owns and operates the USAFE Tech Security firm, based in the United Kingdom.
Tufton said the partnership will go a long way in rebuilding hope in primary healthcare institutions.
“We have to restore confidence in our health centres, as the costs to treat non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are escalating,” the minister said, noting that people should use them for regular checkups and screening.
He said the resources used under the Adopt-A-Clinic programme are managed, with accountability, through the regional health authorities and the Health and Wellness Foundation in his ministry, and to date, close to $200 million has gone to improve 42 health centres.
“This has been a highly successful programme, driven by the need for people to identify needs and work together. Cure is always going to be more expensive than prevention, and the health centres are critical to that,” Tufton said.
For his part, Lai Fatt said he took pride in giving back to Jamaica, and the partnership will “ensure the safety of this facility”.
“Every area that needs our attention, we will address it as best as we can. It is achievable and it can be done, and I want this health centre to be a model for all health facilities in Jamaica,” he added.
Meanwhile, Dr Susan Strachan-Johnson, senior medical officer of health at the Kingston and St Andrew Health Department, said the Jamaican diaspora has once again “demonstrated the kind of partnership that is essential in our ongoing efforts to enhance the public health system.”