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SERHA takes issue with Observer story

Thursday, January 23, 2014    

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THE South East Health Authority (SERHA) has taken issue with aspects of a Jamaica Observer report about the lack of water at the Riversdale Health Centre in St Catherine.

On Tuesday the Observer reported that workers at the facility were reduced to using a single bucket of water per day for its operations, stemming from a chronic water shortage affecting the area and surrounding communities. The Observer was also told that medical personnel had to forgo washing their hands when they treat patients and that there was an emergency meeting among officials to decide on whether to close the facility.

But in a release yesterday, SEHRA described the report as "unfortunate" stating that health centre's staff had "refuted" the "allegations" during a hastily-called meeting at the facility on Tuesday -- a day on which water was trucked to the facility.

According to the release, no meeting was held by the health centre's management neither was there any discussion on closing

the facility.

"Only the Ministry of Health has the authority to sanction the closure of any health centre. In fact, the situation did not warrant the concern of management as the water supply to the health centre was appropriately managed with the support of the National Water Commission, which provided water to the health centre in a prompt and efficient manner," SERHA stated.

Additionally, SERHA said it deemed the statement about the single bucket of water as "unfortunate and inaccurate" and it is seen as an affront to our staff who has been maintaining best standard practice at the health centre, which they have done in an appropriate manner".

Meanwhile, the regional health authority said that such a facility "cannot operate on a bucket of water". "Such a practice would have serious public health implications and would tarnish the reputation of the health centre, which the staff has so carefully and professionally maintained in their quest to offer best practice health care to the residents of Riversdale," the release said.

The Observer stands by its story.

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