JICA/MOH Hosts Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases Training Seminar


The Ministry of Health in partnership with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), this morning (June 18) opened the final training initiative in the Third Country Training Programme (TCTP) for the prevention and control of chronic non-communicable diseases in the region.
The programme, which is geared at leaders, coordinators and managers of chronic non-communicable diseases prevention programmes, is being held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel from June 18 to 29. The first and second courses were held from January 26 to February 6, 2004, while the third session was held from January 20 to 29, 2005. The fourth course, which was scheduled for January16 to 27 was cancelled.
The third country training programme is an essential component of the Japanese government’s Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) for developing countries. In 1998, the governments of Jamaica and Japan signed a five-year Joint Technical Cooperation Agreement targeting the Southern Region Health Authority (SRHA). Minister of Health, Horace Dalley, in an address presented by Director of Health Promotion and Protection, Dr. Eva Lewis Fuller, explained that through this technical cooperation, a project was developed and implemented, focusing on the primary and secondary prevention of hypertension and diabetes.
“A pioneering aspect of this project was the establishment of a disease prevention model, facilitated by technical support from Japanese counterparts throughout the entire project period,” he said. Mr. Dalley pointed out that through the project, JICA has equipped three fixed wellness centres and three mobile clinics and upgraded and equipped laboratory services and trained several members of staff from the SRHA through attachments in Japan. “This project has been successful and it was felt that this concept of promoting wellness could be shared with other Caribbean counterparts. This Third Country Training Programme has subsequently evolved from the joint technical cooperation project,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Jackie Gurney, who spoke on behalf of Dr. Ernest Pate, PAHO Representative in Jamaica, said partnerships such as the Third Country Initiative and fostering networking between Caribbean countries is the strategy to adopt to ensure the promotion of national development. She expressed the view that although education about chronic non-communicable disease was being imparted, persons were not necessarily applying the knowledge to their lifestyles. “We know by now about the issue of epidemiological transition, aging of the population, the rise in chronic non-communicable diseases, and the burden and challenge it represents to the countries. We know about the risk factors and the protective factors.but unfortunately awareness does not necessarily lead to a change in behaviour. And this is where public health leadership is crucial and needs concerted efforts to ensure its strengthening,” she stated.
Ms. Gurney said the leadership training programme therefore fit perfectly into the bigger picture where public health strengthening involves a lifecycle approach, including the unborn child, because studies have now clearly demonstrated the link between low birth weight and an increase risk for non-communicable diseases.
“Public health strengthening means a re-vamping of primary health care as has been urged by the PAHO, with health promotion at the forefront with an integration of primary and secondary health care services. We don’t want people to reach hospital if we can avoid it. We would like the specialists to come to the clinic, to the primary health care setting. Public health strengthening also means a team approach to the care of chronic non-communicable diseases; not doctor centred, but team-centred, with the nutritionist at the forefront. Primary health strengthening must ensure evidence-based decision-making,” she told the audience. The PAHO representative noted that Jamaica is one of the few countries of the region that has presented a healthy lifestyle strategy policy and had adopted it at the Cabinet level.
In his address, Ambassador of Japan to Jamaica, Masahiro Obata emphasized that the TCTP methodology facilitates the opportunity for a developing country such as Jamaica, to transfer knowledge to other developing countries. “In this situation, the reach of Japan is extended and multiplies beyond the initial input. The knowledge transferred here is not bordered by the confines of the SHRA.the method helps Japan to transfer knowledge to Jamaica and through Jamaica to the Caribbean,” he stated.
Elaborating, the Ambassador said that through the project, health professionals from Jamaica have visited Japan to look at its systems for delivering health care and prevention advice. “These professionals then work with Japanese counterparts here in Jamaica, in creating a more structured environment for health care delivery. Today, the process continues as participants of third countries are once more embraced and the circle of knowledge widens,” he said.
Ambassador Obata noted that during the last six years, there have been major achievements directly attributed to the project, with more than 800 health professionals trained in prevention of chronic lifestyle diseases, and more than 1,300 Jamaicans benefiting from preventative screenings.

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