JIS News

Minister of Health, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, says the time has come for clinicians and academics across Jamaica and the Caribbean to partner with Governments to provide health care that reach more people at a lower cost.
This, he said, as access to health care is a basic right. He was giving the main address at the official opening ceremony for the 8th Caribbean Neurosciences Symposium and Workshop, at the Ritz Carlton Golf Resort and Spa in Montego Bay, yesterday (January 29).
“Observing best practices and keeping abreast of developments in the field of neuroscience, it has a moral obligation to do more. It must become part of the rallying cry around the world to broaden the base of social freedoms that people enjoy,” Minister Spencer pointed out.
Mr. Spencer observed that it was a great challenge, not only for governments, but also for those who can do more to ease the burden of the poor, and vulnerable.
“Small developing states such as Jamaica, find it extremely difficult to keep abreast of technologies because we just do not have the resources. However, we can establish partnerships that will enable us to access first world technologies in areas such as imaging,” he told the forum.
Mr. Spencer added that neuroscience is taking on greater significance in Jamaica for a number of reasons. “We have an aging population and mental health disorders that afflict the elderly and are becoming more common. We are also seeing a growing number of young people being diagnosed with Depression and Schizophrenia and other mental illnesses,” he noted.
He emphasized that it was critical for health care professional as well as governments to strengthen their institutional capacity in research generally and in neuroscientific research in particular.
“We must ensure that we maintain a strong presence in the field of research so that we can achieve a greater understanding of the vast complexities of the brain and its disorders. There is room for the Caribbean region to organize itself to improve efficiency in evidence-based policy formulation, policy implementation, monitoring and evaluation and in the utilization of appropriate technologies to reduce cost and improve access to health to the region’s peoples,” Minister Spencer pointed out.
“I am convinced that the health sector presents the best opportunity to involve our peoples in discussions that will affect their lives and livelihoods. This sector provides the best guarantee to reach, mobilize and influence a significant portion of our population to advance the region’s social development,” he asserted.
The three-day symposium is organised and hosted by the Department of Surgery, Radiology, Anaesthesia and Intensive Care at the University of the West Indies and neurosurgeons across the island. It is funded by the consultants in the division of neurosurgery at the University Hospital.
The symposium is expected to provide critical updates for doctors and other participants, invaluable teaching for residents in training, and also affords the trainees an opportunity to interview for electives and fellowships with visiting faculty.

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