The David Thompson Health and Social Services complex in St John has received top marks from the Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Dr Carissa Etienne.
Dr Etienne, who toured the holistic, multi-purpose complex yesterday morning, said it was a great service to the area, as residents no longer had to seek care from several different facilities.
She also praised the level of primary health care being offered at the complex.
“We are very sure, and there is evidence to prove, that you cannot achieve universal access to health and universal health coverage, you cannot reduce your health care costs and improve the health and wellbeing of people if you do not strengthen your primary care programme,” Dr Etienne said.
She added that officials must also ensure they invest in building the capacity of primary health care services to meet citizens’ needs, ensure a comprehensive approach to health care, as well as emphasize quality.
“And these facilities must also be tailored to what are the emerging needs of the population, because the whole emphasis on universal access to health and universal health coverage is reaching those who are not reached. And there are many in our communities that are not reached.
“PAHO is very clear, and our member states are very clear, that we need to journey toward universal health coverage and universal access to health. That means that everyone must have access to comprehensive quality care. And when we say comprehensive we mean preventative, curative, rehabilitative care, quality services at a price that they can afford and does not place them into financial hardships but that also meets their needs,” Dr Etienne said.
The PAHO top official said that called for focus on the poor and vulnerable, and she praised the David Thompson Health and Social Services complex for its community outreach programme that ensures the vulnerable get care.
Meanwhile, Minister of Health John Boyce said his ministry would continue to work with the PAHO office here to strengthen the island’s health systems and processes.
“One of the critical areas is the Ministry’s initiative to review our health care financing mechanisms. PAHO has been instrumental in giving guidance on various strategies and how these may be implemented,” Boyce disclosed.