Global Occurrences Threatening Health Gains – Spencer


Minister of Health, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, has said that global occurrences, such as the spread of the Influenza A H1N1 and the current recession, are “threatening health gains and undermining future investments in health.”
The Minister was speaking on June 25 at the Ministry’s first national performance review for 2009/2010, at the Hilton Kingston Hotel. The review is one of two held annually by the Ministry.
“Governments are now likely to cut back on spending on social services, such as health and education, and development partners might find it hard to maintain or even increase assistance to developing countries,” Mr. Spencer argued.
His comments were supported by Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) Representative in Jamaica, Dr. Ernest Pate, who pointed out that shrinking international development funds will demand that the health service become more efficient at managing its financial resources.
He informed that because Jamaica is classified as a middle income country, the health sector is no longer supported to the extent that it used to be. Dr. Pate explained that the country has been losing development assistance with each improvement in its health indices.
“There is a logical and legal reason for this. A lot of countries that are donor countries have constitutions which state that they can’t give resources to a country where the indices are the same as theirs,” he said.
Dr. Pate added that a shift has also been made from funding specific ministries, such as health, to a multi-sectoral approach, which will see the resources being split among different sectors, with less going directly to health.
He said that the new paradigm, in which international donors operate, will also demand greater accountability for funds, with disbursement linked to results.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Grace Allen Young, said the review will allow the Ministry to see where it stands in relation to the Vision 2030 objectives and the National Strategic Plan for 2006-2010.
The function also included presentations on the health sector reform, strengthening of the primary health care approach and the abolition of user fees.

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