Health sector review underway to strengthen resilience
Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton has told the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) that the island’s health services are being upgraded with an emphasis on primary healthcare reform.
The health minister told the 60th Directing Council of PAHO, at its headquarters in Washington, DC on Tuesday, September 26, that Jamaica has been proactive in addressing the lack of policies and strategic planning to ensure a fit-for-purpose workforce.
“We are moving forward with our primary healthcare reform and have undertaken a detailed assessment of all the services offered in primary healthcare and the resources needed to carry out these services. This will give rise to a comprehensive workforce plan,” he said.
The health minister advised that “we have already started to implement some of the results, as well over 100 new physician posts will be implemented this year in primary care. We are doing the same with secondary care with a new documented Secondary Care Model, and over 600 new posts will be implemented in hospitals. Also, 250 posts have been created for specialist training.”
Tufton pointed out that, “A critical part of the renewal has been the creation of posts for specialists in internal medicine, paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology, general surgery, psychiatry and family medicine, who will serve in primary care. While we develop training plans for all types of healthcare workers, however, we are mindful of the matter of health worker migration that must be addressed head-on.”
He said migration of health professional continues to be a challenge and represents a significant risk for the country. A recently concluded study conducted by the PAHO on the Migration of Health Care Workers found that attrition among the health professionals studied was gradually increasing, with persons moving mainly to the United States of America, followed by the United Kingdom.
The health minister noted that “Jamaica, in addressing the increasing attrition of healthcare workers, has established a technical assistance agreement with PAHO/WHO to assist in this area. Also, with the support of PAHO, we have developed a strategic plan for nursing and midwifery.
“This is focused on strengthening nursing and midwifery in the areas of education, practice, jobs, and leadership. We know that nursing is most affected by migration. Elements of this plan are geared towards addressing the mobility of the nursing and midwifery workforce,” Minister Tufton said.