Hundreds of residents in Clarendon, as well as persons from the parish of St. Catherine, now have access to expanded health services at the Rock River Health Centre in the parish.
The facility, which was officially opened on September 18, was constructed by Food For the Poor (FFP), with funding provided by American philanthropist, Denise Di Biase.
In her address, Mrs. Di Biase told the gathering that healthcare is ‘vital’ to all, hence her donation to the community.
“We are all the same, and healthcare is vital, not only to the individual but to the community. It is an honour to be involved,” she said, adding that her desire was for everyone to ‘find comfort, healing and hope here’.
Meanwhile, Deputy Chairman of the Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA), Michael Stern, said the new health facility will be an ‘agency of change in the lives of thousands of persons’. He commended members of the community for their cooperation.
Mr. Stern noted that, during the construction phase, persons in the community provided meals for the workmen, and cleaned the centre after completion.
“This demonstrates that the building is in good hands. You have shown that the health centre will be an important part of your lives and a beacon of pride in this community,” he said.
He also lauded the donor, and the contribution of FFP, underscoring that Mrs. Di Biase made the donation without ‘expecting anything in return’, and that the deed is ‘true charity’ done to change lives through the ‘enhanced services that the new building will offer’.
“The opening of this new health centre signifies that the health system in the parish is being boosted and strengthened to better care for its citizens,” the SRHA Deputy Chairman told the gathering.
The new facility now offers child health services, family planning, home visits, environmental health services and curative services, with an assigned doctor.
In the past, the centre, which operated out of premises owned by the Rock River Seventh-day Adventist Church, only offered antenatal and postnatal services.
The Government has upgraded and refurbished several health centres in the parish, as well the Chapelton and May Pen Hospitals.
Also in attendance were Member of Parliament for North Central Clarendon Pearnel Charles, and other stakeholders.
By Garfield Angus, Jamaica Information Service
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