Health Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, is encouraging more Jamaicans to join the ‘Adopt-a-clinic’ initiative in order to assist primary health care facilities to meet their needs in terms of upkeep and the necessary equipment.
He was speaking at the official launch of the initiative at the St. Jago Health Centre in Spanish Town, St. Catherine, on Tuesday (November 7).
He noted that the Ministry has received some 50 expressions of interest from entities and individuals.
Among them is the Victoria Mutual Building Society (VMBS), which has adopted 15 clinics across the island.
Dr. Tufton said the objective is to encourage Jamaicans at home and in the Diaspora to provide support, whether in cash or kind, to the primary health care facilities.
“This will help restore or to lend credibility to those health centres and, by extension, provide greater support, which will, in turn, attract more persons to use those facilities,” he said.
“Oftentimes, we do not speak about primary health care, which is community health care administered through our clinics or health centres. The reality is primary health care is far more important than secondary and tertiary health care,” he noted.
Chief Medical Officer in the Ministry, Dr. Winston De La Haye, stressed the need for more Jamaicans to utilise clinics in order to reduce overcrowding of secondary and tertiary facilities.
He informed that of the 1.5 million Jamaicans, who visited health care facilities in 2016, 50 per cent were seen at health centres. “We think that needs to be about 75 per cent at the very least,” he pointed out.
He noted further that 60 per cent of persons seen at health facilities last year were for conditions such as out-of-control hypertension and diabetes.
“We need to be a step ahead of that through primary prevention and this is by healthy eating and lifestyle practices,” Dr. De La Haye said.
Meanwhile, Group President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of VMBS, Courtney Campbell, said the Adopt-a-clinic initiative is a perfect fit for his entity “as it allows us to partner with others to improve the quality of life.”
“We think it is aligned to VMBS’ purpose of helping to uplift the Jamaican people,” he added.
Mr. Campbell said the initiative will be the first for the Victoria Mutual Foundation, which will be officially launched in the first week of December.
Annual reports detailing the support to the clinics and patients that visited, among other things, will be provided to the public.
Photo: Dave Reid