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March 25, 2013
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CDB renovates Mavis Bank Health Centre

MP Damian Crawford takes a turn in the dentist's chair during the official handover of the Mavis Bank Health Centre, which was upgraded with funding from the Caribbean Development Bank. Checking his teeth is Nurse Belma Pinto from the centre while Andrew Neita looks on. - Contributed

The Mavis Bank Health Centre - a type II facility - which serves approximately 10,000 residents in 27 districts in West Rural St Andrew and St Thomas, has been renovated at a total cost of J$17.1 million with funding from the Caribbean Development Bank.

The project, implemented by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) with grant funding from the CDB through the Basic Needs Trust Fund 6th programme, included rehabilitation work for the reroofing of the building; construction of bathroom and laundry facilities; electrical rewiring; erection of a perimeter chain link fence; and installation of additional water storage tanks.

The total project cost was J$17.1 million, with J$15.4 million the amount requested from the JSIF. The total community contribution in kind was J$1.6 million.

Under the improved conditions residents will now enjoy curative servicess; child and maternal health service; antenatal, postnatal, and family-planning services; weekly dental care; a public health clinic that issues food handlers' permits; and the services of a laboratory technician. The pharmacy space has also been renovated.

The health centre is located in an area which is a major producer of Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee which, in turn, is a strong foreign- exchange earner. But Scarlette Gillings, managing director of the JSIF, who spoke at the official hand- over, noted that the area suffered from low capitalisation and poor road networks.

"The economy is also threatened by adverse weather conditions and slowness in shifting to sustainable farming practices. The condition of the health centre as a community facility became critical for the users, and the Community Development Committee (CDC) took the necessary steps to seek assistance for the project as a matter of priority," she said.

The JSIF's intervention sought to address problems of termite infestation, dilapidated roofing, caving ceilings, and leaks which affected the waiting area, patients' bathroom, the records office, and the doctor`s office. Other concerns included broken casement windows and damaged and exposed electrical wiring. The premises were also not secure due to the absence of fencing.

The health centre serves residents from Mavis Bank proper to Hagley Gap, Penlyne Castle, Ginger Reece, Mount Lebanon, and all those in- between districts which are outside of the general perimeters of the community and are even across the St Andrew-St Thomas parish border, with the centre providing the nearest point to basic health services.

A key requirement for the project's execution was the establishment of a maintenance committee, which will be responsible for taking care of the centre. Apart from the maintenance committee, the CDB also provided organisational strengthening training that will enable the committee members to assist in the monitoring of the project.

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