JIS News

The local health care sector is set to benefit from donations of hospital supplies, as well as opportunities for training medical personnel, as a result of the Third Annual Advancements in Medicine Conference, which opens at the University of the West Indies(UWI), Mona, on Monday(Feb 23).
Dr. Sonia Copeland, Acting Director, Disease Prevention and Control, Ministry of Health and a member of the planning committee, told JIS News that the conference forges mutually beneficial relationships between overseas and local medical experts.
The overseas experts, she said, converge on Jamaica to network and identify areas within its health system that can be strengthened through training, workshops, exchange visits and donation of equipment.
“We have benefited from several donations, for example dialysis machines, which were donated by Vanderbilt University last year. And they are offering much more: They are offering to train nurses and doctors, as it relates to dialysis treatment, free of cost,” she explained.
In addition, the local health care sector is also set to benefit from hospital supplies, which Dr. Copeland says, is on their way to the island, courtesy of world renowned Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Discussions to establish institutional agreements where local doctors and specialists can benefit from short term training overseas are also advanced.
Dr. Copeland stated that, based on concerns and awareness of the inadequacies of human resources in health locally, they will also be exploring the possibility of bringing overseas experts to Jamaica to train people in specific disciplines.
“Wherever we can, we will try to garner relationships that will bring the training here to Jamaica, which is sometimes better than trying to send our individuals overseas to study,” she said.
Dr. Copeland said that the conference is of mutual benefit to Jamaica and international participants. International health care professionals are interested in Jamaica’s tropical and metabolic research, particularly in regard to the measures taken to tackle diseases, such as sickle cell, malaria and rheumatic fever.
“We are doing a lot of research locally, as well and have a lot to share, even as we benefit from cutting edge research information,” she said.
“They want to learn about some of our communicable diseases that they don’t see in their setting, as well. They are interested in some of the innovative approaches that we have used to address some of the challenges that we have with health care, locally,” she added.
Highlighting the integral role played by the Minnesota-based Organization for Strategic Development in Jamaica (OSDJ), through its President, Wayland Richards, Dr. Copeland noted that the OSDJ has been integral in forging ties with key organizations and Jamaicans residing overseas, to contribute to the nation’s development.
“Some of these overseas experts are Jamaicans who have actually excelled in their particular field, and this is their way of coming back to share their knowledge and experience. Hopefully, we can utilize some of what we learn at these workshops,” she said.
A joint effort of the Ministry of Health and Environment, the Faculty of Medical Sciences at the University of the West Indies, Mona and the Organization for Strategic Development in Jamaica (OSDJ, the six day conference begins with an opening ceremony at the Main Medical Lecture Theatre, University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, Monday.
The main conference will be held at the Sunset Jamaica Grande Hotel, Ocho Rios from, February 26-28, following external sessions in Kingston, Montego Bay and Mandeville, February 23-26.
To register, interested persons are invited to call Dr. Sonia Copeland at 924-9668 or 490-4848.

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