Jamaica Gleaner / The National Health Fund (NHF) has broken ground for the construction of a Drug Serv Pharmacy at the Linstead Public Hospital in St Catherine.
Construction is to take eight months, at a cost of J$31 million funded by the NHF, which recently assumed responsibility for all public health pharmacies across the island. NHF chairman Gregory Mair said the new pharmacy was in alignment with the mandate given to the government agency to improve the efficiency of pharmacy services in the public sector. “In a gradual way, the NHF has been taking over pharmacies across all public hospitals and are also engaged in rolling out a partnership agreement with private pharmacies to fulfill the policy of the Minister of Health, which is to give greater access to medication to all patients, thereby reducing their waiting time.”
In his address at the groundbreaking ceremony, Minister of Health, Dr. Christopher Tufton said that pharmacy services are important to support hospital and clinical services being offered to Jamaicans.
He said the NHF has been increasing its efforts to make high-quality pharmaceuticals and medical supplies easily accessible and affordable through its Drug Serv programme and all public pharmacies are to be renamed Drug Serv pharmacies.
In his remarks, Member of Parliament for North West St. Catherine, Robert Pickersgill noted that any development which adds to the health infrastructure of the constituency and its environs is welcomed. He noted that the Linstead Public Hospital also serves persons from the neighbouring parishes of Clarendon and St. Ann, so the new Drug Serv pharmacy would not only improve the NHF’s capacity to cater to the needs of patients but would serve at least 12 clinics throughout the area. According to Beverly Needham, parish manager of St. Catherine Health Services, the new Drug Serv pharmacy to be built at the Linstead Hospital would be the third of its kind in St. Catherine.