Negril Health Centre gets $5.8-million boost from Rotary

NEGRIL, Westmoreland — Administrators of the Westmoreland Public Health Services have welcomed a much-needed donation of $5.8-million worth of medical equipment to the Negril Health Centre, saying it will assist in reducing patient wait time.

However, there is a concern that there is not enough staff to take full advantage of the gift.

“Maternal and child health, the curative services, will all benefit. All our hypertensive diabetic asthmatic patients can be turned to with additional support instead of a lag time or any [lengthy] wait,” said senior public health nurse in charge of the Negril Health Centre, Carol Beharie. “But sometimes, with having all of these, we still need the staff. The staffing will be an issue. But guess what? We are grateful for the gifts. The Lord tends to provide the hands to carry out the duties as well.”

Beharie was speaking with the Jamaica Observer after a brief donation ceremony at the health centre on Tuesday. The institution currently has two assigned midwives, an enrolled nurse, and one public health nurse. It is in need of three additional nurses for maternal and child health as well as general medical services. The categories of nurses needed are two midwives and one registered nurse.

The donation of medical equipment was financed through the Rotary’s global grant fund. This was facilitated by Rotary International, through a partnership between the Negril Rotary Club and Calgary North in the US.

Over the years, the Rotary Club has assisted the institution by providing equipment, instruments, and adding two clinical rooms to the facility. The clinic sees, on average, more than 100 patients per day and Tuesday’s donations have been a shot in the arm for administrators.

“Some of the equipment that we would have received from them — such as the bassinet, the blood pressure machines, the glucose meters, the baby scale — are truly needed and will be supported with what we do have because equipment age over time and with continuous usage some things will depreciate,” stated Beharie.

In addition to equipment related to maternal and child services, they also received items used to treat patients with hypertension and diabetes along with supplies for gynaecological examinations.

Beharie was particularly grateful for dressing trolleys that will allow the health centre to better treat crash victims.

“You know that Negril is almost like a bike city and the [large number of] injuries that come in off the road. These injuries from our bikers, we can actually meet that need,” the public nurse told the Observer.

The Negril Health Centre is a Type 3 facility that serves a number of communities in and around the resort town. It also accepts cases from the Type 1 Delveland Health Centre and the Type 2 Little London Health Centre.

“The workload is a very large one. It would be like a referral for those health centres that need what you call backup services,” acting parish manager for the Westmoreland Public Health Services Camille Lewin said of the work done at the Negril Health Centre.

She spoke of the impact the assistance from the Rotary Club will have.

“I’m sure it will go very far, because not only will it assist the persons that are living in this area, but it also impacts on what happens at the hospital. If there are services that we can do at the health centre, then people won’t need to go to the hospital,” stated Lewin.

The Negril Health Centre was officially adopted by the Rotary Club of Negril following extensive expansion and refurbishing work by the club in 2020.

Two years later, the club donated $2-million worth of medical equipment to the centre.

“Over time we keep on trying to find out what the clinic needs and try to facilitate that. We reach out to the particular stakeholders to find out what they need. In this step, we came and we saw the need for all this equipment,” said the new president of the Rotary Club of Negril who is to be installed on Saturday, Owen James.

James said the club will be examining the possibility of creating a changing area with showers for nurses and a wheelchair accessible bathing facility for patients at the clinic.

“This is not the end. We are continuing to do the pushing to see how much we can get this health centre to a world-class facility,” he added.