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Wednesday, August 09, 2006 

Ministry of Health re-evaluates public health system
Wednesday August 09 2006

by Patricia Campbell

The Ministry of Health is in the process of re-evaluating the public health care system, focussing on the relationships between the community and the clinics and between the clinics and the Holberton Hospital.

“We at the ministry are looking at how these clinics work together, because what we have inherited are a number of clinics all over the island; big clinics, clinics that are in villages and we’re not aware that there was a plan of how all these clinics work together,” Minister of Health John Maginley said.

“We want to support what is happening in the Ministry by laying out a level, starting from the hospital to the major clinics, to the satellite clinics, to the smaller clinics, so that everybody knows what services are provided at each level of the clinics, so that the people who run the clinics have the proper supplies and they are properly staffed.”
The minister of health also noted the need to assign doctors to every clinic. Commenting on the currently system of district doctors, Maginley said that he is not certain that it is actually working.

Maginley was speaking at the launch of a $1.6 million project to renovate and upgrade the Gray’s Farm Health Centre, which services the Grays Green community.

The expansion will be funded primarily through the Medical Benefits Scheme.

The project was launched on Friday by the area’s parliamentary representative, Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer, though preliminary work has been ongoing since the end of July. It is expected to be complete within nine months.

The expansion project won the grateful support of several of the community’s residents and particularly some of the senior citizens who frequently access the services offered at the health centre. For the next nine months, they and others wishing to access the services which the clinic currently offers, will not have much further to travel. The clinic’s operations have been relocated to a building only feet away, on the other side of the Gray’s Farm Police Station.

When the original clinic reopens next year, it will offer increased services, meeting the Medical Benefits pharmacy needs in the Grays Green area and offering dental and psychiatric services to the community.

“This facility will be the launching pad for the complete revamping of community health care in the nation of Antigua & Barbuda,” PM Spencer said as the project kicked off.

The health centre will have a doctor permanently assigned to the clinic and there are also plans for a fully equipped ambulance to be stationed at the new facility.

The building will be expanded to over 2,000 sq. ft. and will include nurses’ quarters, the pharmacy, a dental clinic, a psychiatry room, a computer room and an expanded waiting area.
The $1.6 million project upgrade will include the provision of $140,000 in equipment for the health centre.

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