MINISTER of Health Dr Fenton Ferguson says $100 million from the National Health Fund (NHF) has been approved to establish four centres of excellence at the primary health care level.
The minister says this will be initiated during this financial year and there will be one centre in each health region.
The four centres that have been selected are the Santa Cruz Health Centre in St Elizabeth, Darliston Health Centre in Westmoreland, Claremont Health Centre in St Ann, and Isaac Barrant Health Centre in St Thomas.
“The decision to establish these centres was guided by the Government’s focus on universal access at the primary level of care, the available epidemiological evidence, the change in Jamaica’s morbidity profile over the last 50 years from a preponderance of communicable diseases to non communicable diseases and the economics. The unit cost for treatment at the primary level is significantly lower than at the secondary or hospital level,” Ferguson explained.
The improvements to be made include extending opening hours, expanding the waiting areas, upgrading diagnostic services to support screening and treatment and increasing the number of health care professionals.
In addition, efficient and effective pharmacy services will be available, a web-based electronic health information system will be introduced and dental services will be offered.
The centres will also focus on providing health promotion and education programmes.