$3.5 billion spent so far to rehabilitate Cornwall Regional Hospital

$3.5 billion spent so far to rehabilitate Cornwall Regional Hospital

Friday, July 10, 2020

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MINISTER of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton says that the Government has spent more than $3.5 billion in rehabilitating the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) in St James.

Speaking in the sectoral debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, Dr Tufton said the CRH remains the main health service provider in western Jamaica, despite the fact that it has been going through major repairs under a project that has experienced several challenges since 2016.

He said these challenges included a changing scope of work, as well as the fact that the ministry, along with the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA), has had to keep operational all aspects of the services, while repairing the infrastructure.

“To date, the Government has expended more than $3.5 billion in the rehabilitation of the facility, and the creation of new infrastructure to support service provision to the citizens in that part of the island. Currently, despite the challenges associated with the rehabilitation efforts, Cornwall is providing 80 to 100 per cent of all services. The hospital currently provides 90 per cent of all outpatient and 100 per cent of all surgical services,” the minister said.

“I want to reassure the people of western Jamaica that the Cornwall Regional Hospital will continue to respond to their health-care needs, while we continue to improve and expand the infrastructure,” he added.

The minister also recalled that in his presentation to Parliament last year, he had announced an initiative to improve access to critical diagnostic services, by outsourcing to private providers, where hospital infrastructure was either non-existent or not working, as part of a reduced waiting time initiative for users of public health facilities.

“The Enhanced Health Care Services Delivery project was the result, and I am pleased to report that since the launch of the project in September 2019, approximately 9,000 Jamaicans have received services at a cost of some $368 million. These include CT scans, MRIs, ultrasounds, and angiograms, among other diagnostic services,” Dr Tufton said.

“We have heard the cry of the Jamaican people in not accessing diagnostic services enough in the public health system, and not being able to afford it in the private system. The Government has responded,” he stated.

He said that another area on which his ministry has expended considerable effort, in terms of behaviour change that gives priority to individual responsibility in health, is Jamaica Moves.

He said that the idea has gone regional, with various other Caribbean islands adopting the tenets of the programme, which include not only the need to take individual responsibility for one's health through the adoption of preventive 'medicine' and from proper diet and exercise to knowing one's health status.

He pointed out that the programme, which has also won global recognition, specifically addresses non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and as the data has shown, is also impacting young people.

He said that the Global School-Based Health Surveys (GSHS- 2010/2017) indicated that the rates of overweight and obesity – a known modifiable risk factor for NCDs – are trending upward, with an overall increase in rates among adolescents in the last decade.

Further, increases in consumption of sweetened beverages, limited fruit and water intake, together with low physical activity levels, have been found to be significantly associated with overweight and obesity among children aged 6 to 10 years.

“Given this fact, Jamaica Moves is now in more than 200 schools, reaching at least 72,000 students; and with collaboration taking place with teacher-training institutions, as well as with student leaders, to bring about the change we want to see among our young people who we wish to transform into change agents for a healthier Jamaica,” Dr Tufton stated.

“... We have also sought to create the necessary enabling environment to complement the efforts under Jamaica Moves. This is evidenced by the imposition of the Interim Guidelines for Sugary Beverages in Schools, intended not only to improve the dietary environment for our children, but also, critically, to reduce the burden of NCDs,” he added.

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