The Ministry of Health and Environment has embarked on a drive to enhance its services to the public by conducting a Needs-Based Human Resource in Health (HRH ) study.
The four-year project is a joint initiative of the Ministry and the World Health Organisation (WHO)/Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) and is being conducted as a pilot in the South East Region Health Authority (SERHA).
Director at the WHO/PAHO Collaborating Centre at Dalhousie University in Canada, Dr. Gail Tomblin-Murphy, who is a consultant on the project, said the primary aim of the HRH project is to understand the health needs of the population and the best way to address those problems.
“So rather than figuring out what are the needs of the people and who is the workforce, we also have to figure out what would the workforce be doing. How is care going to be delivered? If it is delivered in community health centres, then what team composition is needed to do that,” she said.
Dr. Tomblin-Murphy was speaking at the SERHA stakeholder planning workshop at the Medallion Hall Hotel on Hope Road in St. Andrew on Thursday, March 26.
Chief Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health and Environment, Dr. Sheila Campbell Forrester (left), engages in a light discussion with in discussion with researchers and consultants of the South East Regional Health Authority Needs-Based Human Resource in Health project, Dr. Stephen Tomblin (second left), Dr. Gail Tomblin-Murphy, and Dr. Rob Alder at the project’s stakeholder planning workshop, held at the Medallion Hall Hotel, in Kingston, on March 26.
Chief Medical Officer at the Ministry, Dr. Sheila Campbell-Forrester, said that the issues to be addressed by the study include the long work hours of personnel within health facilities and defining the role of assistant medical professionals.
“We hope that by doing this project, we can bring more clarity as to how the role and function of assistant professionals can enhance what we do. It is not a threat, there is space for everyone,” said Dr. Campbell-Forrester.
The Needs-Based HRH project commenced in October 2007 and is an ongoing programme with research and data collection at various public medical facilities as well as consultations with health care providers.
The components of the study include education and training, work and productivity, a database on the stock of employment and the health needs of the public.
Among the findings of the project thus far, is that 60 per cent of public health sector providers comprise of nurses, midwives, assistant nurses and community health aides. The Needs-Based HRH project also found that the ratio of primary care provider to population is 12.1 per 10,000.
The study is in partnership with the University of the West Indies and Dalhousie University.