“We can only continue to appeal to members of communities where the facilities are located and this practice is evident. They must see it as their duty to protect the service delivered by these health centres and encourage others to do the same,” the Minister told JIS News.
Dr. Ferguson said the Ministry’s budget cannot accommodate the employment of additional security services and therefore communities must act in good conscience by discontinuing the illegal practice and protect the service.
Two weeks ago, the Minister issued a national appeal for measures to be instituted in the various health regions to cope with the prevailing drought and restrictions imposed by the National Water Commission (NWC).
Days later, the WRHA, which presides over public health facilities in the parishes of Trelawny, St. James, Hanover and Westmoreland, stepped up the delivery of water to the 84 health centres across the region.
The Authority soon cited threats to keeping the primary health facilities open, due to the level of water theft being experienced.
It is reporting that 42 per cent of its types 5, 4 and 3 facilities do not have any consistent water supply, necessitating the regular trucking of water to their limited storage facilities.
The problem is compounded by the fact that the water is siphoned off on weekends by residents in many communities. This is not only frustrating efforts at service delivery, but is adding to the already high operational cost of providing quality healthcare to the thousands of patients at health centres.
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