After receiving quality medical care at the Percy Junor Hospital in Manchester on two occasions as a youngster, the Reverend Paul Peart was determined to extend a hand to local health facilities in need.
“It has always been in my heart to return some kind of favour to [health facilities] in Jamaica, because they took care of me,” said Peart who is the senior pastor at New Testament Temple Church of God (NTTCOG) in New York and chairman of Good Neighbours Community Outreach Agency (GNCOA).
Through a collaborative effort of NTTCOG and GHCOA, Peart decided to get involved in the Ministry of Health's Adopt-a-Clinic Programme and the two entities have now adopted the Gordon Town Health Centre in St Andrew.
“After attending a Diaspora conference a few years ago, and sitting and hearing of all the aspirations for Jamaica, I went back [to my church] so enthused and I informed our church that we wanted to do something including adopting a clinic. Our aspirations are not just to adopt one but as many as the Lord will allow us,” he said, during the adoption ceremony at Jamaica House in St Andrew, last Friday.
The entities have committed $4 million towards supporting the clinic over the next four years under the initiative. The money will be used to purchase clinical and office equipment, as well as infrastructure upgrades and maintenance.
The health ministry launched the Adopt-a-Clinic Programme in November 2017. It is designed to target 100 health centres across the island for support from local and international individuals, groups, and corporate entities.
The Gordon Town Health Centre, which is a type three facility, sees approximately 1,750 people monthly. It is the 35th health facility to benefit from the programme.
It accommodates residents from communities including Gordon Town, Mavis Bank, Mud Town, Content Gap and Halls Delight.
Member of Parliament for St Andrew East Rural Juliet Holness charged that much support is needed for the health centre.
“The Gordon Town Health Centre has been in desperate need of help. It is the best health centre to adopt at this time. It is one that is in true need and one that will be eternally grateful for the help,” said Holness.
In the meantime, Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton is calling on members of religious organisations to assist with challenges faced in the health sector.
“My appeal is for the faith-based organisations to rally around the greatest needs that we face as a people, which is to get compliance, support and responsiveness around our efforts in controlling the novel coronavirus pandemic. The science is clear but if not for the science, do it for the faith. What is very clear is that the alternative of doing nothing is an alternative that places us at greater risk,” said Tufton.