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    The Ministry of Health (MOH), in association with the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), will stage another in its series of Stakeholders Meetings on Thursday (March 26) at the Medallion Hall Hotel, in Kingston.
    The meeting forms part of the MOH/PAHO/WHO four-year Human Resource for Health (HRH) planning project, being piloted in Jamaica’s South East Region Health Authority (SERHA), in the Ministry’s continuous effort to determine and effectively meet the human resource needs of the country’s public health care system.
    It will include the participation of health professionals and representatives from associations such as the Nurses Association of Jamaica (NAJ) and the Medical Association of Jamaica (MAJ), as well as training institutions, including the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the Northern Caribbean University (NCU).
    Acting Director, Human Resource Management and Corporate Services at the Ministry of Health, Claudette Walker, said that the workshop will seek to convey to participants the significance of the needs-based approach to responding to and planning for changes in the country’s epidemiological profile.
    “What the associations need to know is that, what the client may require at this point may not necessarily be what he required yesterday,” she said.
    Ms. Walker pointed out that the fact that people are living longer, will have implications for increased need for individuals trained in geriatric care. This project, she said, is to institute the necessary mechanisms to address these issues.
    “The increasingly high incidence of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD’s) will also impact on the way we plan for health care delivery to match these illnesses, and how we mix the skills to meet these demands,” she added.
    The research is being spearheaded by a team from the Dalhousie University in Canada, which will report on project initiatives, as it relates to the data acquisition process and the development of key indicators to assess the current needs of the health care system, in terms of the distribution, regulation and training of health personnel.
    The Epidemiology Research Unit of the University of the West Indies will also present its progress on a database that is being developed to document all the members of Jamaica’s health workforce, in categories such as the available skill sets, the level of education and training, deployment, labour relations and other areas.
    This database, Ms. Walker noted, will prove integral in informing stakeholders at regular intervals about existing or protracted health workforce needs in Jamaica.

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