Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, has signed three contracts valuing in total $40 million, to upgrade sections of three health care facilities in Western Jamaica.
The projects are being funded by the National Health Fund (NHF) and will see work being carried out on the kitchen of the St. James based Cornwall Regional Hospital at a cost of $20 million; structural refurbishing of the Mount Salem Health Centre, costing $8 million; and refurbishing of the medical ward of the Savanna-la-Mar Hospital in Westmorland, costing $14 million.
Speaking at the contract signing ceremony today (August 19), at the Cornwall Regional Hospital, in St. James, Minister Ferguson said the hospital kitchen is a critical component in the delivery of healthcare. “The food that your patients receive is very important in their well-being, and their recovery. If there is a problem at the kitchen, that easily can be carried over to further exacerbate the original problem that the patient would have come in for, so having a clean kitchen , sterilized areas…developing standards is very important,” the Minister outlined.
Dr. Ferguson also promised improvements in the service delivery and medical records keeping at the Savanna-la-Mar Hospital and at other health facilities. “This project too is of great importance in how we accommodate our patients and how we deliver quality care. We want to do everything to bring that hospital to the stage where we can be very comfortable about the delivery of services,” the Health Minister said.
He noted that work on the Mount Salem Health Centre, is part of the commitment from Government to make primary health facilities equipped and be at a standard for patients to utilise them, knowing that they have the various health professionals to deal with their needs, thus freeing up the secondary facilities to deal with specialised emergencies.
“It is the area where the community participation is the greatest. It is the area that we have the greatest network of health centres - over 300 health centres right across the country. It is the area that in a real way cost per patient, is much less than going into secondary care or the hospital system. What we want is a network of health centres where persons will come to realise that there is a good choice. So we are developing our primary care centres, that those centres become attractive,” Dr. Ferguson said.
“… (We are ) looking to develop an electronic medical record system across the country. Not just Cornwall Regional, but our hospitals and health centres in due course will become beneficiaries of a modern system of dealing with health records, maintaining confidentiality and good collection,” the Minister told the gathering.