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Minister of Health, Hon. Rudyard Spencer says the Health Ministry is putting together a training programme for Public Health Inspectors’ Assistants as part of efforts to shore up the human resources in the public health system. The Minister was speaking at the 63rd annual educational conference of the Jamaica Association of Public Health Inspectors yesterday afternoon (Tuesday October 27, 2009) at the Iberostar Rosehall hotel in Montego Bay, St. James. “We have an ageing Public Health Inspectorate group and this requires a human resources development approach that will ensure that we retain the expertise and institutional knowledge of this group,” Minister Spencer said.
The data from a study conducted by a team from Dalhousie University and the University of the West Indies show that the programmes in public health inspection are under subscribed. Between the 2004/2005 and 2006/2007 academic years, the number of applicants accepted for the Public Health Inspectors bachelors programme stood at 119 but the number of graduates was 37 or just under one third. “We now need to examine our strategy to attract and retain these professionals in light of the expected exodus of our experienced inspectors due to retirement,” Minister Spencer said.
The training is part of a $100 million dollar training programme for various categories of workers which also includes pharmacy assistants, community health aides and lab technicians.
“The training of Public Health Inspectors Assistants will help to address the shortage that is being experienced. We cannot train the 130 which is the number that is required so we will begin with 40 early next year,” Minister Spencer said. He added that “Our Public Health Inspectors must be equipped in order to allow them to remain in the vanguard of protecting the health of the people of Jamaica. If we do effective work in this area of public health, the outcomes would be a reduction in the disease burden of the population.”
The 63rd annual educational conference of the Jamaica Association of Public Health Inspectors is being held under the theme: “Evidence-based Practice – The Way Forward for Environment Health”.

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