NEGRIL, Westmoreland — The scores of people who visit the Negril Health Centre will now access consultations and medical examinations in a comfortable environment with increased privacy as the public facility is now outfitted with two new, furnished examination rooms.
The construction was funded by the Sandals Foundation, through its partnership with the Ministry of Health to the tune of $1 million, and was undertaken to address the need for additional space at the Type 3 facility, which serves residents in Negril and surrounding communities such as Orange Hill, Red Ground, Little London and Savanna-la-Mar.
Regional director for the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA), Dr Ken-Garfield Douglas, said he and his team are happy with the upgrades, given Negril's population of more than 25,000 people and the high demand for primary healthcare.
"The management and staff of the WRHA are extremely grateful for the generosity of the Sandals Foundation in providing the funding for the two examination rooms and their amenities. This not only goes a long way in relieving the burden of long waiting time to see the clinicians but it also provides additional comfort and privacy to our patients. Collaborations such as this resonate with the staff and the community because it is seen as a very worthwhile gesture by corporate Jamaica and serves to strengthen the spirit of "one-ness" in the society," Dr Douglas said at the recent ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Prior to the addition of the rooms, the facility had five examination rooms with three couches, and was built to accommodate fewer than 100 patients. However, sometimes more than twice that amount access it in any one day. The patient demand increased over the past few years when the Little London Health Centre reportedly collapsed and its patients had to be redirected to Negril. Even though Little London has since reopened, the need is still high.
Iotha Rhynie, head nurse of the facility, noted that the donation will be of great benefit to the centre. "[The rooms] have improved the ambiance of the facility and allow for greater privacy for our clients. They will now be more comfortable when divulging pertinent information to the medical staff [as] the small space in which we used to operate did not allow for this." She said the extra rooms would not only allow for the facility to accommodate its patients in a more spacious environment, but should also assist the staff to render service in a timelier manner.
Addressing the staff and patients at the facility, General Manager of Sandals Negril, Andre Dhanpaul, said "the Sandals Foundation sees health as one of the cornerstones of our society and we are committed to our partnership with the clinic to ensure that we are helping to provide people in the western region with a facility that is adequately equipped to meet their medical needs."
Through its ongoing partnership with the Negril Health Centre, the Sandals Foundation donated the clinic's first computer, refrigerator and DVD player in 2012. Additionally, team members from the Sandals, Beaches and Grand Pineapple Resorts in Negril carried out upgrades through painting and landscaping, among other activities, on Labour Day this year.