She has served for a number of years in the Maternal and Child Health Department within the Ministry of Public Health, but Dr. Ertenisa Hamilton is now charged with managing the primary health care affairs of the public health sector.

The appointment which became effective April 2018, not only sees Dr. Hamilton continuing to play a major role in the Maternal and Child arena but she has now extended her reach into Environmental Health, Dental Health, Health Promotion and Education, Food Policy, Elderly Health, Men’s Health and Drug Demand Reduction.

Essentially Dr. Hamilton is now tasked with overseeing a number of programmes that formerly fell under the purview of Chief Medical Officer [CMO], Dr. Shamdeo Persaud. “This was an added burden to the CMO…so we have someone who is looking over primary health care now,” said Dr. Hamilton as she spoke of her new appointment.

“I think if you look at it from the Ministry’s point of view, they want to have Primary Health Care as a big focus, it has always been a big focus…so having one person overlooking it gives an opportunity for the management to be a little bit more efficient,” said Dr. Hamilton.

The Primary Health Care Director’s portfolio is moreover one that is expected to aid the public health sector’s efforts at ensuring people across the country have access to equitable health services.  “It all ties in with the strategic direction taken by government to change the Ministry of Health to the Ministry of Public Health,” said Dr. Hamilton.

The deliberate effort to give increased attention to Primary Health Care is in direct response to a call by the World Health Organisation for countries of the world to implement more robust programmes in this area since they can aid prevention.



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