Tufton dismisses unfortunate claims about US hospital ship
Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton says that Jamaicans should have no fear in visiting the US Navy Hospital Ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) for medical attention.
Several voice messages are being shared on social media in which persons purporting to be residing in the United States of America are heard telling relatives in Jamaica to stay away from the ship.
"None a unno nuh go down deh go tek nuh free medical from dem," a woman warned her relatives in a voice message that is making its way around social media. "A kill dem come fi kill off black people offa the planet and dem a go a every Caribbean country fi kill off people. America don't gi weh free healthcare up here," the person said.
However, Tufton, contacted by THE STAR, said that the negative message being circulated is not only erroneous, but is unfortunate.
"It is done either out of ignorance or mischief," said the minister, adding that it is not good for international collaboration in the area of public health.
"This is a medical ship that has travelled the world and involves many nationalities. They have helped many in the past and continue to do so. Those who think otherwise are ill-advised," Tufton said.
The ship is currently anchored in Kingston and will offer free medical services until November 1. It is anticipated that approximately 150 surgeries will be conducted on-board. Surgeries will fall under the categories of ophthalmology, general surgery, orthopaedic surgery, oral maxillofacial surgery, plastic surgery, wound care, and urology.
Basic medical services will also be provided at walk-in sites at Sabina Park and the Greater Portmore Health Centre. The walk-in sites will provide adult medical services, paediatric medical services, dental services, optometry, physical therapy, and dermatology. The sites will operate from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day on a first-come, first-serve basis.