The public health sector received a gift of medical supplies valued at more than $60 million from well-known American gospel singer Donnie McClurkin Monday afternoon.
Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson accepted the donation of syringes, medication, surgical tools and equipment which, he said, will be supplied on a demand basis to hospitals and health centres across the island.
Addressing the presentation ceremony at The Courtleigh Hotel and Suites in New Kingston, Ferguson said that donations amount to 20 to 30 per cent of the health ministry’s overall budget, down from about 80 per cent three years ago.
“This year we have a current budget somewhere in the region of $34.7 billion. But, even as we have that budget, there are still significant gaps in our ability to respond to the needs of our people,” the minister said.
McClurkin said he made the donation because of his love for Jamaica and its culture, adding that one of his albums contains tracks that were inspired by Jamaican gospel songs.
Over the last 15 years, the ministry has received external assistance on several occasions; 560 wheelchairs in 2002, $75 million in supplies in 2005, and more than $16 million in supplies last year.
The ministry also receives donations from the World Bank and Global Fund.
— Suzette Bonas