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Minister of Health, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, wants young Jamaicans to make their contribution to nation building, by becoming involved in various career options.
“Times have changed. Today, world hunger, joblessness and poverty are on the rise. Jamaica is caught in the throes of a global recession, an influenza pandemic and the effects of climate change, many of which are irreversible,” Mr. Spencer recalled.
“Our country needs a great army of young people to undertake an unprecedented work in nation building. Will you join that great army to rescue Jamaica from wreck and ruin? There are many opportunities for you to serve your country,” he appealed.
Mr. Spencer was giving the main address at the annual school leaving exercise of the Vere Technical High School, Clarendon, on Wednesday (July 1).
He said that in spite of the various negative occurrences taking place, both globally and nationally, people should focus on the positive and do their part to effect the changes necessary to create a better nation.
He said that the health sector was grossly under-staffed, requiring in excess of 1,000 workers to fill existing vacancies, and that the graduates should put themselves in a position to help address this deficit.
“In the field of health care alone, we need people in pharmaceutical services, nursing and dentistry. We have over 1,000 vacancies based on our present cadre. The public health sector needs 64 pharmacists, 77 public health inspectors, 126 community health nurses, 587 registered nurses, 71 public health nurses, 276 midwives and 645 registered general nurses,” he explained.
He also advised the group to make use of the opportunities for training which the Government is actively creating, including the training of health technicians at the Lionel Town Hospital, and midwives at the Kingston Public Hospital, to be undertaken at no cost to the trainees.
He also disclosed details of a public/private partnership with the Radiation Oncology Centre of Jamaica, to train radiation therapists. The first cohort will begin training on July 6.
Painting a picture of agriculture as an area of endeavour which could prove to be very financially rewarding, he directed the school leavers to communicate with persons at the RADA office closest to them, to receive assistance in undertaking various projects within this sector.
However, he advised them against developing a ‘get rich quick’ mentality, and suggested that they be content to start small, and expand at the pace their situation allows.
“Today as you celebrate reaching this important milestone, take the time to say thank you to all those who believed in you and stood by you throughout the years. It is time to give back, by continuing to invest in yourself, and by being model citizens,” he implored.