Hundreds of residents living in Above Rocks, and surrounding communities in St Catherine, will now benefit from improved health care at the Above Rocks Health Centre which received a facelift after years of operating in a less than acceptable state.
The project was done through Federal Republic of Germany and Deutschland-based charitable organisation VFKE and the Heart Foundation of Jamaica.
During the official opening of the refurbished facility, Dr Stefan Keil, German ambassador to Jamaica, explained that improvement was well needed at the facility.
“The first indication we got was that the roof was leaking and the clinic wasn't in the best condition and that's why we provided funds. She (Johanna Burgher, the administrator of the health centre) told us what kind of job she is doing here and that the clinic needs a bit of refurbishment. We found it a good project and we are honoured to contribute to the restoration of the clinic,” said Dr Keil.
The $2.7-million renovation included re-roofing, installation of new floor tiles, electrical rewiring, new windows, doors, bathroom upgrade, and procurement of new furniture.
Burgher expressed appreciation for the upgrade.
“I am very grateful to my donors. I never expected the people like the German Embassy to help out. It worked out so well and I appreciate all the effort they put into it,” said Burgher who was born in Germany.
She pointed out that residents in the area will be grateful when they access services at the improved facility.
“They will have a big benefit. You can see that a lot of people really need the service here,” added Burgher.
In the meantime, executive director of the Heart Foundation of Jamaica Deborah Chen said there was no challenge providing support to the facility.
“We are a non-governmental organisation (NGO), the clinic is an NGO, it's all in the mix. It is very useful, a lot of people don't seek health care because it is far from them,” said Chen.
In welcoming the changes, a woman, who identified her self only as 'Ms Joy', a former auxiliary worker at the health centre, told the Observer that, “it is very helpful for the people from here, and for those in Zion Hill and Glengoffe because when they can't get any medication they come here”.
It was a similar sentiment from 74-year old Adina Hemmings who goes to the facility for check-up regularly.
“I am glad that it has been improved. It is really beneficial. I come here to check my blood pressure all the time,” said Hemmings
The health facility serves residents of Above Rocks and neighbouring communities including Barnett district, Highgate, Retirement and Harkers Hall.