Home Press Releases Operation REFRESH is here!

Operation REFRESH is here!

  • Health centres to get facelift, more home visits from CHAs coming

 KINGSTON, Jamaica. Tuesday, May 7, 2024: The Ministry of Health and Wellness is giving renewed attention to primary care reform this year, with one billion dollars earmarked to spruce up select health centres islandwide while enabling more home visits from community health aides (CHAs).

“Our attempts for community mindset transformation must include restoring our community health centres to a look, feel and utility that attracts community participation and support,” Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, Minister of Health & Wellness, told Parliament during his Sectoral presentation on Tuesday (May 7).  

“Our aim is to ensure that every health centre and healthcare worker generates confidence in our citizens to visit these facilities rather than bypass them for the hospital in the town square,” he added.

In support of this, the Minister said, one billion dollars will be spent over the next 18 months on a programme to “enhance the look, feel and utility of selected health centres across the country, as part of the mindset or transformation we are seeking in every Jamaican citizen”.

“Called Operation REFRESH, we will move to standardise the look and feel of our facilities, through signage and colour schemes, as well as improving areas of wait and staff quarters and, where necessary, adding sustainable features like solar panels for energy efficiency, air conditioning and improved sanitary conveniences for a more comfortable wait,” Dr. Tufton explained.

“We want our health centres to be a source of pride and our citizens to expect and experience improved customer experience,” he added.

The second component of the programme, the Minister said, will be driven by community health aides.

“Our CHAs number approximately 2,200 and they are usually the first public health point of contact at the community and home levels. As part of the reform process, we are to support more community activations – for example, visiting homes and giving support to the senior citizens and pregnant mothers, conducting screening and giving basic psychosocial support. This will all be done under the supervision of the public health nurse,” Dr. Tufton noted.

“The journey we are on assumes that good health begins at home and in the communities and as the stewards of good health, we must go more frequently where the people are. That is the substance of primary health care. This journey for a mindset change for all of us must continue,” he added.