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    • Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says the Government intends to launch its Health and Wellness annual research fund next month with an initial $50 million.
    • He noted that the facility, to be financed by the National Health Fund (NHF), will focus on supporting applied research, based on competitive proposals, that is in line with specific challenges identified within the public health sector.
    • “This is applied research because… I’m not overly interested [in what]      is going to qualify for a journal, even though that’s important. I am interested in applied research that is going to solve the problems on the ground, in the communities, in public health,” the Minister said.

    Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says the Government intends to launch its Health and Wellness annual research fund next month with an initial $50 million.

    He noted that the facility, to be financed by the National Health Fund (NHF), will focus on supporting applied research, based on competitive proposals, that is in line with specific challenges identified within the public health sector.

    “This is applied research because… I’m not overly interested [in what]      is going to qualify for a journal, even though that’s important. I am interested in applied research that is going to solve the problems on the ground, in the communities, in public health,” the Minister said.

    He was speaking at the opening of the 10th Annual National Health Research Conference at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston on Thursday (November 21).

    Dr. Tufton said that the Ministry is encouraging research in keeping with the new wellness agenda, which will result in influencing behaviour change, such as drinking fewer sugary drinks, managing solid waste to avoid vector breeding sites, and addressing non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

    “If we do not get that kind of behavioural change, then we are always going to be confronted with high cases of these types of public health challenges and we will never be able to afford the response that is required to deal with it,” he pointed out.

    Dr. Tufton stressed that research in the area of wellness is crucial, as influencing lifestyle change among the Jamaican populace has been a key challenge for the Ministry.

    “I would like to see a lot more research being done that combines the social sciences of people behaviour, people interaction, how people relate in their communities with the clinical sciences and the benefits that flow from that,” he said.

    Dr. Tufton said that the Ministry will be defining a general research agenda “for the current challenges we face and where we need to go”, in order to appropriately guide the focus of the intended studies.

    “[We] invite groups with the appropriate credentials, research units and individuals to apply for that funding, as long as they are conducting research in the general area of where that research agenda is pointing,” he said.

    The two-day conference, being held under the theme ‘Wellness Now: Embracing Change Together’, is organised by the Ministry to showcase the research of public-                     sector workers.

    The conference highlights operational research to provide data, which can guide improvements in programme planning and delivery.