JIS News

Starting February 1, the Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) will be embarking on an islandwide enrollment drive with the aim of increasing the number of beneficiaries under the programme.
Director for PATH in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Trevor Smith, said that the drive was primarily to reach some 36,000 persons, who have been selected for assistance, but have not submitted the necessary documents to complete the registration process or could not be found at their addresses for verification to be done. As a result, the Director said, the programme was under-subscribed.
“The PATH programme,” the Director revealed, “has the capacity to accommodate 236,000 beneficiaries and at this point we have just a little over 180,000 registered and so there’s a shortfall of 50,000 [persons]. Our plan is to fully subscribe the programme by April 2005.”
He said that the 36,000 persons, who have been selected but not enrolled, would help to make up the shortfall. “This 36,000 have attained the scores but .they are required to submit their documents so that they can be fully registered for payment in April. As a consequence, we’re actually going out islandwide to find these individuals,” he stated.
Mr. Smith also revealed that the unit had an additional 6,000 applications, which would be processed and those selected would be able to receive payments in April.
The Director emphasized that without the necessary documents, the enrollment process could not be completed, and urged those who have already been selected for benefits to produce the required paperwork.
The documents, he informed, included birth certificates for all family members and an identification card such as a passport, driver’s licence or a national identification card. In the case of an adult, who cannot produce a birth certificate, a statutory declaration (letter that tells the name and age of the individual) written by a Justice of the Peace, will be accepted.
Persons with disabilities, he noted, were also required to produce verification of their disability. Such verification, he said, could be obtained from a doctor, health personnel or from the National Council for Persons with Disabilities. Pregnant and lactating women, he added would also be required to produce documents from a health professional to verify their conditions.
Those who have difficulty in producing the necessary documents, Mr. Smith said, would be assisted by social workers from the Labour Ministry.
In terms of the conduct of the enrollment drive, the Director explained that a strategy had been developed for each parish, which would see some parishes having house to house visits, and others having enrollment centres.
Apart from officers from the Ministry, the Director said personnel from the Social Development Commission, community groups, churches, clinics, among other agencies would be assisting with the fieldwork.
Notwithstanding the emphasis on locating those individuals, who have already been selected for benefits, Mr. Smith pointed out that others not now a part of the programme, could feel free to apply, as there were persons, who would be excluded over a period of time. These include children who have reached the age of 18 years, mothers who have given birth, those who have completed the lactation period, and beneficiaries who have been non-compliant for three consecutive times.
Mr. Smith said that it was important for programme to be fully subscribed, to assist 50 per cent of the total number of persons who fall below the poverty line. It is with this objective in mind, he stated, “that the government of Jamaica at this point in time, is focusing on full subscription so as to obtain the goal of PATH.”
The PATH progamme is co-funded by the World Bank and the government of Jamaica at a cost US$78.5 million and is aimed at breaking the cycle of poverty and improving people’s lives by enhancing their health and educational levels.