Gov’t Providing Grants for Health Research

Photo: Rudranath Fraser Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton (right), is greeted by Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/World Health Organization (WHO) Representative to Jamaica, Dr. Noreen Jack (centre), on his arrival at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston on Thursday (November 23) to participate in the 8th staging of the annual National Health Research Conference. Also pictured is Acting Head, Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) Drug Testing Laboratory, Sonia Thomas-Gordon.

Story Highlights

  • The Ministry of Health will be providing three research grants of up to $1.5 million each for tertiary students pursuing studies in specific areas.
  • Portfolio Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, officially launched the grant awards programme during the 8th staging of the annual National Health Research Conference at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston on Thursday (November 23).
  • He noted that health research has high value for society, as it can provide, among other things, important information about disease trends and risk factors, outcomes of treatment or public health interventions, patterns of care, and the use and cost of healthcare.

The Ministry of Health will be providing three research grants of up to $1.5 million each for tertiary students pursuing studies in specific areas.

The grants are available to postgraduate students of the Northern Caribbean University; University of Technology; and the University of the West Indies, Mona, who propose to undertake studies related to the top-10 health priority areas of the Government.

Applications for the one-year award will close on January 19 next year, and a decision made by February 15.

Portfolio Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, officially launched the grant awards programme during the 8th staging of the annual National Health Research Conference at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston on Thursday (November 23).

He said the objective is to promote credible research that supports the Government’s health agenda.

“We want to encourage research to guide policy, with an aim to promoting national development… . We consider this our contribution to the cause of research in healthcare, and we hope that we get as many applicants as possible and work that will add to the work that we have to do,” he said.

He noted that health research has high value for society, as it can provide, among other things, important information about disease trends and risk factors, outcomes of treatment or public health interventions, patterns of care, and the use and cost of healthcare.

The grant awards programme is being spearheaded by the Essential National Health Research Committee (ENHRC), which serves as the governing body for the coordination of research for health in Jamaica.

Chairman of the ENHRC, Professor Rainford Wilks, said increased research can lead to improvements in the overall health of Jamaicans, thereby helping the country to achieve a healthy and stable population.

“The provision of these grants is a key step in encouraging research in the priority areas and stimulating all aspects of ENHR,” he said.

He said the top-10 priority areas are universal access to health and universal health coverage; cancers, including cervical, breast, colon, prostate and their general outcomes and epidemiology; successful interventions for the treatment of cardiovascular conditions, including hypertension; factors affecting and the impact of violence and injuries (including intentional and unintentional injuries); and neglected tropical diseases and emerging and re-emerging diseases such as Zika, chikungunya and Ebola;.

Also being given priority is research into the financial sustainability for health; estimates of disease burden; the cost of disease burden; diabetes mellitus, including its effect on pregnancy; and the social determinants of infant, child and adolescent health (including mortality).

Grant awardees are encouraged to present their findings at the annual National Health Research Conference. They will also be expected to develop findings into full manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed journals, and may be asked to participate in other health fora.

This year’s conference is being held under the theme ‘Exercising Mind and Body: Supportive Environments for Healthy Living’.

The two-day event, which concludes today, provides the opportunity to highlight operational research to provide data that can guide improvements in programme planning and delivery.

Among the areas being discussed are health promotion and health education; environmental health, including occupational health and safety; and mental health.

Acting Head, Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) Drug Testing Laboratory, Sonia Thomas-Gordon; and Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/World Health Organization (WHO) Representative to Jamaica, Dr. Noreen Jack, both endorsed the conference as crucial to supporting the development of sound health policies and practices for Jamaica.

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