Primary health care services to be revamped

− focus on preventative, holistic approach

-Minister Anthony

The Ministry of Health is taking a new, holistic approach to delivering family health care services through the primary health care system.

Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Frank Anthony said this new strategy will be catered for in the proposed $51.7 billion allocation for the health sector and is expected to inform every succeeding Budget after that.  

There are seven programmes which fall within the purview of the Ministry: Policy and Administration, Disease Control, Primary Health Services (Family Health Care), Regional and Clinical Services, Health Sciences and Education, Disability and Rehabilitation Services, and Standards and Technical Services.

Singling out Family Health Care, Minister Anthony said that plans are in train to ensure that every person has access to targeted health services.  

“From the time the child is born [through] every stage of development, we want to provide adequate health tracking, provide the health services to match that age group,” Dr. Anthony said. 

In keeping with these measures, specific services will be available for newborns, children – especially those under five years old, adolescents, adults and the elderly. 

About children, the focus would be on the Expanded Programme for Immunisation (EPI) which will ensure they are protected from the transmission of deadly viruses and infections including polio, measles, mumps, rubella, among others. 

Nutrition for children will also be an essential focus of this new strategy, starting with the promotion of exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, given its importance to a baby’s growth and development. 

Meanwhile, adolescents will be educated on sexual and reproductive health, and other key services, as they transition into adulthood. The goal is to equip them with the knowledge to make better choices and engage in healthy practices.  

“For adults, we will specifically look at men’s and women’s health. We know the health-seeking behaviour of men and women have been quite different,” Minister Anthony said, adding that these differences often result in men seeking health services when they are at an advanced stage of illness.  

This leads to a high number of persons with chronic illnesses, viruses and infections which require stringent treatment or a revamped lifestyle to avoid death. 

For the elderly, attention will be given to ensuring that their ‘golden years’ are enjoyed in good health, principally through proper nutrition. 

Similar strategies will be taken in the other sub-programmes to safeguard the nation’s health and wellbeing.