Thu | Apr 18, 2019

Health sector gets US$100m shot in the arm - Plans afoot for major upgrades, provision of telemedicine

Published:Wednesday | April 3, 2019 | 12:24 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton (right, seated) and Adriana La Valley (left, seated), chief of operations at the Inter-American Development Bank in Jamaica, exchange documents during a contract signing for a US$100-million loan to upgrade the public health sector yesterday.  Looking on are Chief Medical Officer Dr Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie  and Dunstan Bryan, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health. The ceremony took place at the IDB’s offices in Kingston.
Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton (right, seated) and Adriana La Valley (left, seated), chief of operations at the Inter-American Development Bank in Jamaica, exchange documents during a contract signing for a US$100-million loan to upgrade the public health sector yesterday. Looking on are Chief Medical Officer Dr Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie and Dunstan Bryan, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health. The ceremony took place at the IDB’s offices in Kingston.

Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton has said a US$100-million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank will facilitate a number of upgrades in the public health sector, including facilitating the provision of telemedicine.

Speaking at the signing ceremony for the loan yesterday, Tufton said the funds will set in motion a major overhaul of the health sector, including the provision of more hospital beds, operating theatres and specialised services. It will also facilitate the upgrade of a number of health centres with diagnostic and other equipment at specific locations across the country.

The technology upgrade will allow health professionals to “administer care in a modern and efficient way, including remotely, through telemedicine”, Tufton added.

CONSUMER KNOWLEDGE

“People can also expect a legislative programme that is going to support better consumer knowledge and information about choices they make, opportunities to increase their physical activity and knowing their health statuses. These are legislation to give better protection to consumers in the interest of health and wellness.

“Healthcare has to be from a holistic approach. This loan from the IDB will give us the opportunity to change the narrative on health, upgrade infrastructure, drive key policies, [and] test effectiveness and impact. When else do you see a US$100-million investment in health?” asked Tufton.

Part of the initiative is a major overhaul of the Spanish Town, St Ann’s Bay and May Pen hospitals, as well as 10 significant health centres to relieve the burden on the hospitals.

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com