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Minister of Health, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, has called on Governments in the region to invest more in health and education, to give the countries a sustainable, strategic advantage in an increasingly dynamic and competitive global marketplace.
“We must begin to view health as a resource of fundamental strategic importance to the survival of the region. When placed within the context of a fundamental right, it becomes incumbent upon Governments to remove the impediments to accessing health care,” Mr. Spencer said.
“Even as the region positions itself to address the severe and wide-ranging impact of a global recession, and the likely effect of the H1N1 virus, Governments should invest more in areas such as health and education, that will give us a sustainable strategic advantage in an increasingly dynamic and competitive global marketplace” he noted.

Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness, participates in the Council for Human and Social Development(COHSOD) of Ministers on Health and Education at the Ritz Carlton Resort, Montego Bay, St. James Wednesday (June 3). Activities in the two-day Conference were carried out under the theme ‘Winds of Change: Education and Health Collaborating to Advance Human and Social Development’.

Mr. Spencer was addressing the opening ceremony of the 18th. Meeting of CARICOM’s Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) of Ministers on Health and Education, at the Ritz Carlton Resort and Spa, Montego Bay, St. James Wednesday (June 3).
He issued a challenge to COHSOD to recommit to its mandate to promote the improvement of health, including the development and organisation of efficient and affordable health services in the community.
He said that the way forward must include the development of health and education policies which favour the poor, a gendered approach to policymaking and strategic regional leadership in health education and health information.

Minister of Health Hon. Rudyard Spencer, (left) and Minister of Education Hon. Andrew Holness (right) share a joke as they participate in the Special Council for Human and Social Development of Ministers on Health and Education at the Ritz Carlton Resort, Montego Bay St. James Wednesday (June 3). Activities in the two-day Conference which will end tomorrow (June 4), are being carried out under the theme ‘Winds of Change: Education and Health Collaborating to Advance Human and Social Development’.

“Jamaica has taken a bold step in the social policy arena. Our no-user fee policy in both health and education, will radically change the social landscape of the country. The Government views health and education as the twin hope of the people that will prove, in the long term, to be the most important life changing investments made in the social capital of the country,” Minister Spencer pointed out.
He stressed that the region must seek the support of the international community, to advance a pro-poor policy agenda in health and education, as a fundamental prerequisite for human and regional development.
“It is important that knowledge and skills, pertaining to healthy lifestyles, be entrenched in the syllabuses and assessments of all regional examinations,” the Minister told the over 70 delegates participating in the CARICOM Conference.

Acting Custos of St. James, Enel Brydson, (left) along with representatives from the Ministries of Health and Education participate in the Special Council for Human and Social Development of Ministers on Health and Education at the Ritz Carlton Resort in Montego Bay St. James Wednesday (June 3). Activities in the two-day Conference which ends Thursday (June 4), are being carried out under the theme ‘Winds of Change: Education and Health Collaborating to Advance Human and Social Development’.

Minster of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness, who gave the welcome address, said that notwithstanding ‘binding’ budget constraints, education and health must remain a priority on Government’s development agenda.
“This meeting of COHSOD, provides a rich opportunity to document our successes, hear best practices and, importantly, discuss and develop ideas, approaches and policies to address the challenges we continue to face in the health and education sectors,” he said.
The focus on the establishment of a Regional Qualification Framework, through regional organisations, such as the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) and the National Accrediting Bodies and Training Agencies, provide the platform to strengthen relationships and to help to deepen the integration process, he added.
COHSOD’s two-day conference, being held under the theme, ‘Winds of Change: Education and Health Collaborating to Advance Human and Social Development’, ends Thursday(June 4).