KINGSTON, Jamaica — Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie, says despite local hospitals now operating under emergency mode because of COVID-19, several measures are in place to reach persons who need regular care from public health facilities.
In a release, the CMO said various forms of evaluating patients to determine their condition and to deliver medication to them have been implemented, while the Government reviews how the National Health Fund (NHF) can expand delivery to those patients who must be served while the system prioritises emergency care.
“We have put in several measures in order to ensure that there is continuity of care, and we have a callout system in some of our hospitals where they call the patients and make a determination of those that need to come in or those who need to have their prescriptions repeated,” the CMO said. She added that arrangements have also been made for the pickup of prescriptions, and through the NHF the medicines are delivered to our “most vulnerable populations”.
Dr Bisasor-McKenzie also said that the prescription period has been lengthened from three to six months, to ensure that persons get their medications over a longer time.
In the meantime, the CMO also used the opportunity to emphasise that ending the surge of COVID-19 infections depends on the behaviour of persons and their adherence to the infection prevention and control measures.
“It just means that you follow the rules – that is what is going to stop the exposure, and the spread,” the CMO said, pointing out that staffing remains a challenge for the system. She also took the time to assure the public that while the system faces its fair share of challenges, it can manage especially as it relates to offering care to pregnant women.
Dr Bisasor-McKenzie said mechanisms are in place at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital to manage and monitor pregnant women, and different areas have been created for post-delivery care at the institution. She added that the capacity at the regional hospitals has been increased over the past two years, through the Programme for the Reduction of Maternal and Child Mortality (PROMAC).
“We are not overwhelmed by the demand for high-dependency spaces, but we will come under pressure in terms of having the staff to manage those spaces. The challenge right now is not so much space and equipment but staff, and we could reach a point where we are challenged for space if our [COVID] numbers continue to rise,” she said.