Temporary home needed for Harry Watch Health Centre

Monday, July 30, 2018

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Public health care authorities in Manchester are still on a quest to find a temporary home for the Harry Watch Health Centre, which was closed earlier this year due to rodent infestation and the unsafe structure of the building.

While the long-term plan is for the construction of a new facility on land available in north-west Manchester, an area that can accommodate residents comfortably is being sought for rental in the short term.

Chief public health inspector for the parish, Charmaine Palmer-Cross, said that from her understanding of the situation, the property that once housed the health centre was also rented, but the owners are not interested in rehabilitation.

Acting medical officer of health Dr Nadine Williams said that ideally the building should be pest-proof, easily accessible to the public and with enough space for a waiting area, an area for private consultation between health care workers and patients, and the installation of sanitation facilities.

The Harry Watch Health Centre caters to residents from mainly the northern section of Manchester, and since the closure residents have been dependent on services at the Mile Gully Health Centre.

Councillor Omar Miller (Jamaica Labour Party —Craighead Division) has been expressing his dissatisfaction with the closure, noting that it was not the best solution at a time when public hospitals are encouraging patients to use health centres.

Palmer-Cross said that the situation could not be avoided and closure is always a last resort.

Different stakeholders including the Social Development Commission (SDC) have committed their support to ensure that the residents who benefit from the Harry Watch Health Centre will be able to again have a convenient service in short order.

Among those services is back-to-school medicals.

Williams said that some provisions have been put in place on Saturdays to accommodate residents from the affected areas and others who have that need.

She said that since July 7, school medicals have been done at the Manchester Health Department in Mandeville and the service will continue until August 25.

School medicals are also being done every other Saturday at the Christiana and Mile Gully Health Centres.

Patients are being seen from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm at all locations, Williams said.

—Alicia Sutherland

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