JIS News

The Ministry of Health is committed to the improvement of the health of Jamaicans, as part of its obligations under the Millennium Development Goals and Vision 2030, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Jean Dixon, has said.
“This is why the Government saw it necessary to open up access to health care to the entire population,” she said, adding that the increased access has resulted in the need for additional health care professionals in the public sector.
Dr. Dixon was speaking at the opening of the 13th Annual Conference of the Jamaica Dental Auxiliaries, at the Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort, in Ocho Rios, St. Ann on March 10.
She noted that the Ministry, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and educational institutions, is working assiduously to address human resource challenges in the health sector.
“We have entered into an agreement that will facilitate the training of dental nurses, dental hygienists and technologists as well as dental assistants, through the School of Dental Sciences at the University of Technology (UTech), in partnership with the University of Maryland,” she said.
The Permanent Secretary informed that the programme is well underway, with the first cohort of students currently in training.
She pointed out that the shortage of health workers is not unique to Jamaica and there is no quick fix on the horizon.
“Just recently, the World Bank launched a study on nursing labour in CARICOM countries, which shows that if our current policies remain the same the gap in nursing shortage will grow from present 3,400 to 10,700 by the year 2025,” the Permanent Secretary informed.
She noted that the study estimated that the cost of expanding training capacity and improving completion rates for nurses between the year 2009 and 2020 could cost up to US$31 million.
“The focus therefore, should be on achieving cost efficiency, improving service delivery and enhancing team work,” Dr. Dixon said.
She commended the Jamaica Dental Auxiliaries for hosting the conference and wished them well in their endeavours.
The three-day conference is being held under the theme: ‘Dental Auxiliaries Promoting Optimal Health through Education and Service’.