5 hospitals, 10 health centres to be upgraded

BY SHANAE STEWART
Observer staff reporter
stewarts@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, April 05, 2019

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FIVE hospitals and 10 health centres are expected to be upgraded over the next five years as part of an Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)/Ministry of Health programme to strengthen Jamaica's health care system.

On Tuesday, Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton signed a US$100-million loan agreement to kick-start the programme, which is aimed at boosting the country's fight against non-communicable diseases (NCD), at a launch workshop held at the IDB's office in Kingston.

Dubbed the 'Health Systems Strengthening for the Prevention and Care Management of NCDs Programme', the initiative aims to improve the health of Jamaica's population by bolstering policies for the prevention of NCD risk factors, and implementation of a chronic care model with enhanced access to integrated primary and hospital service networks.

The hospitals to be upgraded under the programme are: Spanish Town, May Pen, St Ann's Bay Regional, Mandeville Regional, and Kingston Public Hospital. While the health centres slated for upgrade are: Greater Portmore, Old Harbour, St Jago, St Ann's Bay, Brown's Town, Ocho Rios, May Pen West, Mocho, Chapelton, and Lionel Town Health Centre.

Dr Tufton said the initiative represents the most transformational move in the sector, perhaps in the last quarter century.

“It represents an opportunity that we shouldn't squander, that we should take advantage of, in order to change the narrative of public health in the interest of achieving health and wellness for our population, which is our ultimate objective,” the health minister said.

The loan includes two elements: A US$50-million Programmatic Policy-Based (PBP) loan and a US$50-million investment loan.

The PBP will fund the necessary regulations and policies to implement coherent and comprehensive health sector strategy while the investment loan will fund improvements in Jamaica's primary health care system.


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