The competencies of 40 community health aides (CHAs) have been significantly enhanced with their successful completion of the Ministry of Health’s training/certification programme.
Implemented at a cost of over $8 million, the project sought to improve the CHA’s contribution to the nation’s primary health care system. Sixteen assessors/trainers also completed the programme.
The participants were presented with their certificates on April 20 at the closing ceremony for the programme held at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston.
In highlighting the importance of the training and certification, Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson said, the move is in keeping with the Ministry’s emphasis on strengthening primary health care.
He said that with the increase in the incidence of chronic non-communicable diseases, which is taking a toll on the health care system, the CHAs have an important role to play in assisting with combating these debilitating illnesses at the community level.
“You have the responsibility to tend to the sick and aged in communities, do follow up visits after persons have gone through our primary and secondary health care facilities and to educate persons about healthy choices necessary to secure good health, among other responsibilities,” he said.
Dr. Ferguson told the CHAs that they are important partners in the delivery of health care and their contribution “will assist us to move closer to our development goals, which seek to make Jamaica the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business as outlined in Vision 2030”.
The programme, implemented in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the HEART Trust/NTA, included a pilot training component where trainers/assessors and CHAs, who were already in the field, were trained over a period of about 30 weeks.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Jean Dixon, informed that the overall goal of the project was to standardise the training “to enhance the contribution that the CHAs would make to the country’s primary health care system and provide a basis on which to assess performance and further develop the programme, expand its scope, or change it as the need arises”.
The programme focused on improving the knowledge of the CHAs to assist in the management of children and families, and also providing specialised training in order to develop the necessary skills to deal with new developments in health care.
By Alecia Smith-Edwards, JIS Reporter