JIS News

The Ministry of Health and Environment last week held a two-day strategic planning retreat aimed at examining the mandate of the Ministry and to create greater synergies between the health and environmental portfolios.
At the meeting held at the Caymanas Golf and Country Club in St. Catherine, stakeholders discussed strategies to streamline functions and to ensure greater operational efficiency.
Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Marion Bullock Ducasse, told JIS News that with the merger of the health and environmental portfolios, there is now a wide range of expertise within the Ministry, and there is need to ensure that the organization functions as one. “We have to ensure that our roles and functions are streamlined and that both portfolios understand each other’s roles,” she said.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Grace Allen-Young, said that the participants had a significant opportunity to contribute to the re-engineering of the Ministry and the way forward is through strategic planning and implementation.
“It can’t be the same old excuses. We have to be accountable and there is no one that is too important. We are going to have indicators and benchmarks so that output can be measured and performance can be rewarded,” she pointed out.
The Permanent Secretary noted that the Ministry has a pivotal role to play in the development of the country, having lead responsibility for six of the eight United Nations Millennium Development Goals and the implementation of several international and regional treaties, charters and agreements. “It is therefore important that operations are streamlined to attain effective sustainable development”, she stated.
Minister of Health and the Environment, Rudyard Spencer, for his part, said that the retreat is timely and that the country is depending on the Ministry to succeed in its endeavours.
“Every group that I’ve had discussions with including the Medical Association of Jamaica has committed to working together in the best interest of the country,” he stated.
It is expected that at the end of the retreat, seven goals would have been met. These are: a clear understanding of the scope, responsibilities and obligations of the Ministry; a new vision and mission statement; greater understanding of the broad roles and functions of the Ministry and its mandate; a proposed structure of the senior directorate and other key positions in the Ministry; proposals for financing the Ministry’s budget through local and international partners; creating a mechanism to engage key stakeholders and sectors in national sustainable development and planning; and the creation of a work plan with specific timelines.

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