Serving a population of over 20,000 within the community of Mile Gully in Manchester and its environs, the Mile Gully Health Centre, which has been refurbished at a cost of $US 40,000, will significantly impact the quality of services to customers, while enabling staff and clients to function in a more comfortable and conducive environment.
Refurbished by Jamalco and its Noble Foundation and charity organization, the United Way of Jamaica, the Type 3 Health Centre was handed over yesterday, June 12.
Public Health Nurse at the Mile Gully Health Centre, Mrs. Arlene Ellis-Bennett explained that renovation work included: painting of the entire health centre building and staff quarters; replacement of windows; installation of four air conditioning units; procurement of electronics including a gas stove, television set and photocopying machine; procurement of dental equipment; construction of a covering for an outside waiting area which now accommodates over 50 persons; tiling work; construction of a wall adjacent to the pharmacy waiting area; provision of benches for the pharmacy waiting area; procurement of stationeries and blinds and the construction of a garbage skip.
She added that in addition to the donation by Jamalco, Member of Parliament for North West Manchester, Mr. Mikael Phillips donated a 650 gallon water tank and asphalted the walkway to the Health Centre while the Manchester Health Department constructed a gate at the Health Centre’s entrance.
According to Jamalco’s Human Resources Manager, Mr. Christopher Buckmaster, the alumina/bauxite company takes its social responsibility seriously and is committed to developing the communities in which it operates. He announced that Jamalco will also donate later in June, two green houses to the Mile Gully community in an effort to teach the farmers green house technology.
Guest Speaker and Chairman of the Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA), Mr. Wayne Chen lauded Jamalco for its donation noting that the
company has continued its tradition of being indispensable to the communities in which it operates.
Mr. Chen noted that despite the challenges of the country’s health system, the sector, including the primary health care system has been performing robustly and beyond its available resources.
“When we look regionally, there are 15 countries in Caricom, and Jamaica ranks near the top in life expectancy, yet still of the 15, we are near the bottom in terms of our expenditure per capita. What makes up the gap and what gives us the edge over even a rich country like Trinidad and Tobago where our life expectancy is significantly higher, is the vigour of our primary health care system as typified by what we are witnessing today” Mr. Chen said.
He pointed out that the outreach work by health workers; the public education; prenatal care; dental care; psychiatric care and other services and programmes have added to the dynamism of the country’s healthcare system.
The SRHA Chairman noted that while corporate social responsibility is important, community and personal social responsibility are essential to the development of communities. He explained that Jamaicans who have migrated overseas and to other parts of Jamaica should be mindful of the impact they can have in supporting initiatives geared towards the development of the country, especially at community levels.
The Mile Gully Health Centre has occupied its present location since 1965, and offers services including curative (medical, nutrition, psychiatric); maternal and child health (antenatal, postnatal, child health, pap smear); family planning; dental; food handlers certification; environmental health; exually Transmitted Infections Clinic and pharmacy services.
In 2011, the Mile Gully Health Centre introduced a unique service offering, a Men’s Health Clinic which focuses on prostate screening.