Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says the Government is on a mission to ensure that all persons have access to timely healthcare.
Speaking at the 72nd World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, on May 22, the Minister said although Jamaica has to face the triple burden of responding to communicable diseases, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and natural disasters, and where public health expenditure takes 3.5 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), the Administration is committed to achieving a healthy society.
“This means that our entire population has timely access to a package of quality services that is promotive, protective, preventative, curative, rehabilitative and palliative,” the Minister told the forum.
Dr. Tufton said the Government has placed great emphasis on enhancing the primary care programme, and advancing a strategy for healthcare “that focuses the population on wellness and taking responsibility”.
He stressed that the policy is aimed at triggering a “drastic change” in the mindset away from dependence on treatment and curative services, adding that a 10-year plan that has been embarked on has goals of safeguarding access to equitable, comprehensive healthcare, health promotion and infrastructure improvement.
The Minister told the forum that Jamaica’s reform of its primary healthcare system is taking into account the epidemiological and demographic profiles, by enhancing the capacity of health centres, extending opening hours, and expanding the services offered.
“Jamaica is accelerating towards a truly integrated health service delivery network with the patient at the centre, and utilising the Life Stage Approach, strengthening primary healthcare, while at the same time improving secondary care services, breaking ground for new facilities, decreasing waiting times, upgrading infrastructure and providing new equipment,” the Minister outlined.
The World Health Assembly is the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO), and is convened annually in Geneva.
It is attended by delegations from the organisation’s member states, and focuses on a specific health agenda. The forum commenced on May 20 and will run until May 28.