|Minister of Health calls for increased support from professional groups for government's pro-poor policies|
|Sunday, 21 February 2010 18:18|
Minister of Health, Hon. Rudyard Spencer has called for all hands on deck to move the country forward. Minister Spencer was speaking on the weekend at the inaugural banquet of the Jamaica Orhtopaedic Association held at the Sunset Jamaica Grande Hotel in Ocho Rios, St. Ann. "It is abundantly clear that this government is pursuing policies that will safeguard the progress that the country has made especially in those areas that will determine the future and fortune of Jamaicans. Government alone cannot accomplish this herculean task. We need all hands on deck to rebuild this country. The same kind of leadership that was displayed in helping Haiti is needed by Jamaicans for Jamaica," the Minister said.He said the country is going through tough times and so the government is seeking to reduce costs by improving efficiency, streamlining bureaucracies, eliminating duplication of functions and deploying staff in a way that reduces cost and increases productivity. "Even in the face of the global meltdown, health policies must seek to help the most vulnerable to retain as much of their disposable income for necessities such as safe foods, decent shelter and transportation. The government has an obligation to the people of Jamaica, even in this tight fiscal space to advance pro-poor public policies to protect the incomes of the poor and safeguard the nation's health outcomes," he said.
He said that according to the 2007 Jamaica Survey of Living Conditions, almost 34% of persons who reported an illness in 2006 did not seek care because of the cost of health service. Data shows that more than 65% of the poorest quintile seeks care at public health facilities. "Since the abolition of user fees on April 1, 2008, over 4 million patient visits have been made to Accident and Emergency Departments and Health Centres. Under this policy, Jamaicans have saved over $3.6 Billion as at December 2009," he said.
Meanwhile, Minister Spencer thanked the team that responded to the plight of the people of Haiti, the first of which was led by the Association's president, Dr. Derrick McDowell. The association presented the Minister with a token of appreciation for his support to the field of medicine and health care.
Contact: MOH, Public Relations Unit - Tel: 967-1561