Dental services to return to Bog Walk


Dental services to return to Bog Walk

Observer staff reporter

Monday, August 19, 2019

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AFTER years of clamouring for access to dental services in their community, residents of Bog Walk, St Catherine, are to get their wish.

If all goes according to plan, an expanded Bog Walk Health Centre will feature a dental unit by next February.

The work will be carried out under the Bog Walk Health Centre Expansion and Dental Unit Construction Project, being implemented by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) under the European Union (EU) Poverty Reduction Project at a cost of close to $32 million.

The health centre will see renovation of the roof and lunchroom/kitchenette, construction of a consultation room, and the conversion of a decommissioned dental room into a second consultation room.

The dental unit will feature three dental rooms, one compressor room, a sterilisation room, a laboratory, waiting area, three wheelchair-accessible bathrooms, a covered walkway, and related equipment such as dental chairs, sterilisers and compressors.

In addition to the health care projects, JSIF will undertake the expansion and rehabilitation of Bog Walk Police Station and rehabilitation of the Pineapple Lane road, which are also under the EU Poverty Reduction Project. All three are expected to get underway at the end of the month.

The police station will cost some $33 million and will include the construction of four cell blocks, and repairs to the conference room, general offices, evidence room, lobby, restrooms and the administrative area.

The other project will cost over $22 million and will see improvement to the parochial road as well as the construction of storm water drains, a paved waterway, kerbs and asphaltic concrete pavements.

The contract for each of the projects were signed at Knollis Community Centre in Bog Walk last Thursday.

Speaking at the function, Omar Sweeney, JSIF's managing director, said, “We're proud to be back here today as JSIF, and proud to be partnering with the community on this signing ceremony and contract signing today that will see three new investments in the Bog Walk Health Centre, the Bog Walk Police Station, and the Pineapple main road.

“I also want to recognise the European Union and, if you don't know, I'll tell you that the European Union is a single-largest grant-giver to Jamaica. JSIF has been in partnership with the European Union since 2000, and since that time we have spent countless amount of funding doing projects all over the island, so we're pleased today to sign these projects with the EU's backing and support,” he said.

Sweeney explained that the dental facility project was as a result of demand, and stressed that all three are grounded in human rights.

“Whether a person has an infraction with the law or not, they have a human right to be housed in a proper facility. They have human rights, as citizens, to not feel as if you're not entering an armory or a guard room or something like that when you enter a police station. You should go into a police station and feel that you can have a confidential discussion; you should have trust. And these are basic human rights that all citizens need. And so, we are in partnership on this programme to ensure that your human rights are protected in every single way,” Sweeney said.

Member of Parliament for St Catherine North Central, Natalie Neita Headley said the projects are six years in the making.

“I want to acknowledge all the members of communities in Bog Walk who are here this morning. This is for you and so it's a special occasion for me, and to be able to share with you makes it even more special...I have been waiting for this day for six years,” she said.

The MP said she walked Pineapple Lane with citizens and a JSIF team in 2013 to highlight the difficulties the residents were facing. She said she felt at the time that work would have been done within two years.

Neita Headley also said she visited the police station and found the conditions to be unsuitable for humans, no matter the wrongs committed. However, she promised that the new cell blocks will be empty.

As it relates to the construction of the new dental facility, she said it is a much-needed blessing for the community.

“… That we are now going to have a dental annex in Bog Walk with three dental units and a dental lab, let me tell you, there is nothing like that from Flat Bridge all the way down to Linstead — nothing of that sort. And so, Bog Walk is going to be blessed to have all these things right here in our community,” the MP said.

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