Health and Wellness Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton, has opined that if more Jamaicans practised healthier lifestyle options, their need to be hospitalised, especially for non-communicable diseases (NCDs), would be reduced significantly.
His comments come after a newspaper cartoon, which portrayed him in a track suit running around three health facilities – the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI), the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) and the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH).
All three hospitals, as depicted by the cartoonist, were in deplorable conditions.
In responding to the figurative portrayal of himself and the island’s healthcare system, Tufton, in a tweet, said: “I love seeing these because it gives me the opportunity to reiterate the importance of healthy practices and wellness.”
Added the minister: “The more we take care of ourselves, the chances of us needing to be hospitalised for issues such as NCDs (hypertension, diabetes etc) are lessened.
“Nevertheless, it will take time for us to get there, but that doesn’t mean that the ministry is ignoring the fact that there is need for some serious infrastructure upgrades. That’s why $31.2 billion is being invested into those upgrades,” he stated.
In December of last year, the Health Ministry unveiled plans at an ‘Open House and Exhibition of Jamaica’s Public Heath Facilities’ to construct and rehabilitate 13 health facilities, comprising 10 health centres and three hospitals, under the Health System Strengthening Programme.
The targeted hospitals are Spanish Town in St Catherine; St Ann’s Bay, St Ann; and May Pen in Clarendon.
In returning to his commentary on the cartoon’s portrayal of the sector, Tufton said the upgrades that are coming for the health infrastructure will take time, “but we stay committed”.
Still, he reiterated that citizens must take better care of themselves as the rehabilitation works continue.
“While these long-awaited upgrades are being done, we have to try taking better care of ourselves. I still say, let’s walk, run, swim, wheel and even dance… together. Stay tuned because things will be happening in 2022,” tweeted the minister.