JIS News

Some 51 Cuban nurses are to arrive in Jamaica by January to ease the shortage at public health facilities across the island.
Health Minister. Hon. Rudyard Spencer, who made the disclosure on Thursday November 18, said that the nurses will be placed mainly in primary health care facilities.
He was speaking on day-one of a one-week budget preparation retreat at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston, which is being attended by key stakeholders in the Ministries of Health, and Finance and the Public Service.
Mr. Spencer also informed that the government continues to work on finalising the new bilateral agreement with Cuba, which comes into effect in July 2011.
The agreement aims to enhance the Ministry’s capacity for bio-medical engineering and maintenance of its equipment. Minister Spencer said that a team from Cuba will begin the repair of equipment that are out of service at a cost of some $49 million.
As it relates to procurement, Minister Spencer said the process has been streamlined to ensure greater compliance with the established guidelines.
He informed further that “we have instituted a coordinated approach to securing support for projects in an attempt to improve accountability, align projects with priorities and enhance project management.”
“I expect the Business Development Committee that I established a few months ago to explore public/private initiatives and to recommend a framework to guide these arrangements, will make a report to me by year’s end,” he said.
The budget retreat is a series of sessions organised by the Ministry of Health to assist all entities to meet the guidelines that have been established by the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service in preparation for the 2011/2012 budget.
The retreat is expected to accomplish the following: an alignment of the corporate and operation plans of its entities with that of the Ministry of Health; greater knowledge and familiarity with the budget guidelines; improved compliance with the budget guidelines; and a prepared budget that reflects the Ministry’s priorities for the 2011/2012 financial year.
The sessions involve officials from the Ministry’s head office, the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, the regional health authorities, National Council on Drug Abuse, National Family Planning Board, Child Development Agency, Office of the Children’s Registry, National Public Health Laboratory, Pesticides Control Authority, National Health Fund, Government Chemist, Registrar General’s Department and the University Hospital of the West Indies.
A number of working sessions will also be held from November 25 to December 1 during which each entity will be given one-and-one assistance to craft their budget.

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