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A four-year pilot project, which is aimed at boosting the human resources requirements in the health sector, is currently being carried out in the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA).
Speaking a recent media forum held at the Kingston offices of the Ministry of Health, which formed part of a two-day project steering committee meeting, Director of Human Resource Management and Corporate Services in the Ministry, Gail Hudson, explained that the initiative aims to create and use evidence to inform planning for human resource needs in the health sector. Consideration is given to the health requirements of people, in addition to political, social, economic, technological, geographical, demographic, gender and equity factors.
According to Miss Hudson, the Human Resource in Health project will act as a policy tool to address gaps regarding the requirement for and supply of health care providers, and will address the education and training of workers.
She said that a number of needs indicators are being developed for key professions. “We have looked at pharmacists, radiologists, anaesthetists, paediatric cardiologists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, audiologist, registered nurses, midwives, (HIV) contact investigators, social workers and lab technologists, medical technologists and so on,” she pointed out.
Once these indicators are developed, health officials will be able to determine over the long- term, the number of professionals from each group that will be required to meet the growing demands of the population for those services.
Expressing high hopes for the project’s outcome, Miss Hudson said it will “build capacity .in the areas of needs-based human resource health planning and development.”
The project, she said, will “put Jamaica on the map in terms of innovation in human resource health planning, to act as leaders in building capacity in the Caribbean region.”
The project, which was launched in 2007, is being funded by the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), which has engaged the services of a team from the Dalhousie University in Canada, to work with Jamaica and Brazil, in adopting a new and scientific approach to planning for human resources in health, based on the needs of the people.
Miss Hudson explained that SERHA was chosen as the pilot for the project, as the region represented close to 50 per cent of the population and employs key areas of the medical field. She said that this approach to human resources planning will be rolled out more broadly in the other regions.
The project is being overseen in Jamaica by a 15-member steering committee co-chaired by Joan Guy-Walker of SERHA and Miss Hudson.

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