Health system in bad state – PNP’s Dr Alfred Dawes Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Opposition spokesman on Health & Wellness, Dr Alfred Dawes said that the public health system is at a dismal state despite the boasts from the Health Minister.

Commenting on the Sectoral Debate presentation in Parliament on Tuesday by Health Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton, Dr Dawes said the administration is out of touch with the realities facing ordinary Jamaicans.

He said while the minister boasts about how much the health budget has increased over the last few years, maternal mortality rate has jumped significantly and it is the highest that it has been in decades.

He highlighted that neonatal mortality rate is higher than it was 25 years ago. The infant mortality rate is higher as well as the number of children dying under the age of five years old.

Dr Dawes pointed out that all of the significant health indices have worsened in spite of an increased spend, which means that Jamaica is not getting value for money and Jamaicans are worse off.

He accused the government of ignoring the fact that cancers are on the rise, more Jamaicans are dying from cancer, and more Jamaicans are victims of chronic diseases. Dr Dawes said this result is that there is burden on the health centres and hospitals remains above levels where they ought to be.

“Had there been serious investment in cancer treatment and prevention, screening and the provision of timely interventions at the level of primary care, we would have less person seeking assistance in hospitals.

“Unfortunately, they cannot get to see doctors and get adequate treatment to control their blood pressure, their diabetes and as a result we are seeing 7,000 Jamaicans annually getting strokes,” he said.

He said despite investments in ICU spaces and donation of ventilators during the COVID-19 period, Jamaica’s ICU capacity is still pre-COVID level.

In Jamaica, more women are dying from breast cancer despite the fact that the number is trending down globally. He said prostate cancer continues to be the number one cancer in Jamaica yet there are proper screening programmes for it and colon cancer.