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HIV rapid testing and construction of new clinics on tap for 2011
Wednesday, 29 December 2010 08:00

NASSAU, Bahamas -- Rapid Testing for the detection of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) will be made available at the four polyclinics in New Providence effective January 2011, Minister of Health Dr. the Hon. Hubert A. Minnis said.

Dr. Minnis said additional services for those infected, but not ill with HIV, will simultaneously be made available at the four poly-clinics. These include the South Beach, Flamingo Gardens, Fleming Street and Elizabeth Estates polyclinics.

Expansion of the service is expected to follow in the Family Islands later in the new year.

Dr. Minnis said the availability of the Rapid Testing and other HIV services at the four clinics in New Providence is part of a far-reaching Ministry of Health, Department of Public Health and Public Hospital Authority initiative to provide Bahamians from across the Commonwealth with greater access to healthcare and healthcare services.

He said that access will be even greater with the proposed plans to construct two mini-hospitals – one each in Abaco and Exuma – in addition to clinics in a number of other Family Island districts.

Dr. Minnis said officials at the Ministry of Health, the Department of Public Health and the Public Hospitals Authority, have participated in a series of consultative meetings and discussions to move the process of the construction of mini-hospitals in Abaco and Exuma forward during the course of the year 2011.

The construction of the two mini-hospitals will strengthen the care and services to Family Island residents.

Plans are also underway to construct new clinics proposed for Staniel Cay and the surrounding cays in the Exumas and for the Fresh Creek District in Andros.

“Additionally, the National Insurance Board, in consultation with the Ministry of Health and the Department of Public Health, repaired clinic facilities in Marsh Harbour and Cooper’s Town in Abaco, and Fresh Creek, Andros, all with a view to further strengthening the public healthcare system in those islands,” Dr. Minnis said.

“Repairs are ongoing at the Hope Town Clinic in Abaco (and) residents of James Cistern, Eleuthera, are assisting the government with the expansion of that clinic.

“All of these measures will assist in granting Bahamians greater access to quality, primary health care,” Dr. Minnis added.

The Health Minister said the construction of the four polyclinics in New Providence, and the ones in Abaco and Andros, resulted from recognition of the need to expand services at the community level in order to provide Bahamians “from all walks of life” with easy access to early basic primary healthcare services.

More than one-half million visits were made to primary health care facilities in The Bahamas in 2010. Primary health care in The Bahamas is provided through a network of 98 healthcare clinics (and) covers maternal and child health, immunisation, school health, dental services, acute and non-acute ambulatory care, district nursing and other home visiting services.

“Primary healthcare service is the most cost effective and socially equitable healthcare strategy for a people,” Dr. Minnis added.

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