Jamaica to Participate in Health Sector Human Resource Planning Project


Jamaica is among four countries participating in a pilot project, which seeks to build equitable and sustainable health systems through innovative, needs-based approaches for health human resources planning.
Dubbed the Human Resources for Health (HRH) Project, the initiative is expected to transform human resource planning in the health sector by addressing critical issues in the context of population health needs in Canada, Brazil, and Peru. This is in addition to demographic, gender and equity, political, social, economic, technological, and geographical factors.
The project is being funded through a Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) and Dalhousie University agreement with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), to build capacity in the Americas through partnerships with Canadian experts.
Director of Human Resource Management and Corporate Services, in the Ministry of Health and Environment, Gail Hudson said that the project presents an opportunity for Jamaica to develop a model to link the impact of policy options on addressing gaps between requirements for, and supply of healthcare providers. “It consists of education and training, stock of providers, works and productivity and health needs,” she explained.
The Director made these remarks at a two day ‘Needs Based Planning Stakeholders’ workshop held recently at the Environment headquarters of the Ministry on Trevennion Road in Kingston. The workshop is first of three that forms part of the activities for the project.
Commenting further on the project, the Director said that there are several benefits to be derived such as building capacity among Jamaican policymakers and researchers in the area of needs-based in health human resource (HHR) planning, and international development. She also argued that the success of the project would put Jamaica on the map in terms of innovation in HHR planning. “We could be leaders in building capacity in the Caribbean region,” she posited.
Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Grace Allen-Young said that all the other Ministry studies pertaining to human resource management would be pulled together in the HRH Project.
“Every now and then we hear reference to various studies that have been done in the past and what we are really trying to do is to bring these studies into life. Some years ago there was the KPMG study to look at human resource Management.a recent assessment was done by Horace Williams, so it would be fallacious for anybody to say that nothing has been done to look at human resource management,” she pointed out.
Dr. Allen-Young also pointed out that some of the issues confronting the Ministry had to do with the fact that health is a labour intensive service.
“The Ministry has evolved over many decades and has a significant impact on the outcomes of people’s lives. There are the traditional approaches and there are the newer approaches and I am requesting that we approach the exercise with the spirit of creativity and with an open mind, so that we can look at what is needed not just in share numbers but in terms of the activities that are required,” she urged participants at the workshop.
The South-East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) was selected to pilot the programme as it is the largest RHA among the four bodies. It covers the parishes of St. Catherine, St. Andrew, and St. Thomas.
The initial six phases of the project, which include setting planning parameters; identifying needs indicators; acquiring HRH planning data; populating and refining the simulation model; testing policy scenarios; and transferring knowledge in the creation of HRH plan, are expected to conclude in 2009.
Thereafter the model will be implemented over a specific period before being rolled out across the PAHO region.
The Ministry of Health and Environment employs approximately 11,600 staff inclusive of health professionals, non-health professionals, and support staff.

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