JIS News

Minister of Health, Hon. Rudyard Spencer has signaled his Ministry’s commitment to rural development with the official start of work on the renovation and expansion of the Lionel Town Hospital Training and Accommodation Facility in Clarendon. The facility will be used to provide training for Dialysis and Pharmacy Technicians who will be placed in health facilities across the Regional Health Authorities on completion of their studies.
Speaking at the official ceremony to mark the beginning of activities on Tuesday afternoon (April 6, 2010), Minister Spencer said the government is committed to expanding training for health workers especially in the assistive care areas. He said an important part of the strategy of the government to scale up human resource is to expand training opportunities available in rural Jamaica.
“This is what we have now done to allow our young people in these rural parts easy access to training. This approach will also help to stem the rural/urban drift as many young people migrate to urban centres in search of a better future,” the Minister said.
Minister Spencer pointed out that this is also a part of an overall commitment to address the human resource issues in the health sector.
“In 2008, I informed the parliament of our intention to train some 500 persons including Pharmacy Technicians, Lab Technician Assistants, Operating Theatre Technicians and Psychiatric Aides at a cost of $100 million. We started with Pharmacy Technicians because of the obvious dire need to increase the support available to our highly skilled pharmacists. So far we have trained 25 pharmacy technicians,” he said.
The Minister said the training which is being done in partnership with the National Health Fund which provided funding in the amount of $69.7 Million and the University of Technology (UTECH), is expected to increase the cadre of trained technicians to work in the pharmacy and dialysis services each year.
The facility will have the capacity to train 60 students each year. Three lecture rooms, two laboratories, a staff room, a reception area, a prep room and a computer lab will be housed there. The renovation of the adjacent store room will allow for the accommodation of 24 students.
The training area will be completed within three weeks while work on the area to accommodate students will start in about May of this year. “We cannot hope to sustain the health gains that the country has made without a concerted focus on capacity building and retaining those in whom we have invested. Jamaica cannot afford the continued depletion of our human resource by developed nations that have significantly more resources to train and retain their own people,” said Minister Spencer.

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