The Government will be re-examining the institutional arrangement for the management of reproductive Health in the public health sector.
Speaking on Monday, November 22, at the ground breaking for the expansion of the Hugh Wynter Fertility Management Unit at the University Hospital of the West Indies, Minister of Health, Hon. Rudyard Spencer informed that this responsibility currently resides with the National Family Planning Board (NFPB).
“We want to increase impact through strategic co-ordination and integration. We want to strengthen and leverage key multilateral organisations and promote research and innovation,” Mr. Spencer said.
Minister of Health, Hon. Rudyard Spencer (second left), and (from left): Vice Chancellor, University of the West Indies, Professor E. Nigel Harris; Principal, University of the West Indies, Professor Gordon Shirley; and Director, Hugh Wynter Fertility Management Unit, Professor Joseph Fredrick, examine an artist impression of the expanded Hugh Wynter Fertility Management Unit, at the University Hospital of the West Indies. Occasion was the ground breaking ceremony for the expansion, on November 22.
He added that stakeholder consultation will include the University of the West Indies in defining the way forward.
“Our sexual reproductive and reproductive services must be informed by certain fundamental principles such as equity, human rights and gender equality,” Mr. Spencer said.
In addition, the Health Minister noted that the Government is committed to improving reproductive health through fertility knowledge and a positive approach to fertility education.
“We are also examining some options to strengthen the delivery of sexual and reproductive health services in a way that contributes to the empowerment of women and greater gender equality, reduction of child mortality and improved maternal health and the reduction of sexually transmitted infections,” Mr. Spencer said.
Minister of Health, Hon. Rudyard Spencer (centre), sharing a light moment with (from left): Chief Executive Officer , University Hospital of the West Indies, Dr. Trevor McCartney, and Vice Chancellor, University of the West Indies, Professor E. Nigel Harris, at the Ground Breaking ceremony for the expansion of the Hugh Wynter Fertility Management Unit, at the University Hospital of the West Indies, on November 22.
Meanwhile, the Health Minister congratulated the university community, especially the leadership of the Hugh Wynter Fertility Unit.
“I notice that the components of the physical expansion of the unit include telemedicine technology. The Ministry of Health has deep interest in this area. I believe that we can broaden access to certain services with the introduction of appropriate technology. I am sure the Ministry will benefit from the findings from the research laboratory, which will assist us in evidence-based planning and decision making,” Mr. Spencer said.
In his remarks, Principal, University of the West Indies, Professor Gordon Shirley said the university is committed to the development of the fertility unit.
“We are committed, with the Faculty of Medical Sciences, to the expansion in a way that ensures that we do not tamper with the quality (of the service) and to improve the standard of graduates that we produce,” he said.
The main purpose of the new development of the fertility unit is to expand the physical facilities and technological capacity, so as to significantly increase and enhance clinical research and teaching in reproductive health for undergraduate and postgraduate medical and nursing students, clients and medical practitioners locally, regionally and internationally.
The facility, formerly the Advanced Training and Research in Fertility Management Unit, was established in 1979 under the directorship of its founding professor, Hon. Hugh Wynter. Over the years, the unit has focused on four components- clinical services, research, training and outreach.