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Jamaica urges WHO support to strengthen health teams

KINGSTON, Jamaica. Wednesday, May 29, 2024: Jamaica has urged the support of the World Health Organisation (WHO) to bolster, through sharing across jurisdictions, its human resources for health.

“Jamaica is moving to address some of the ‘push’ factors that cause our health care workers to migrate, including modernising infrastructure and implementing an electronic health records system,” said Minister of Health & Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, addressing the 77th session of the World Health Assembly earlier this week.

“We are also increasing the pool of workers by enhancing training opportunities. I recently announced a 2.5 billion Jamaican dollars scholarship programme to train health care workers. The Government is also carrying out a review of remuneration for public sector workers, in an effort to retain persons in the service,” he added.

Yet, even with these interventions, the Minister told world leaders, Jamaica is “fighting to compete with the pull factors from other countries”.

To solve the problem, Dr. Tufton said ways need to be found to share human resources.

“We call upon the WHO to strengthen its efforts to help small countries develop resilience through forging partnerships with training institutions, accreditation bodies, clinical training sites across borders to allow for sharing of training and trainers that will expand the numbers trained in small countries to satisfy the needs of these countries and others,” the Minister said.

According to Dr. Tufton, the human resources for health constraints faced by small island developing states (SIDS), including Jamaica, are threatening to erode the gains made.

“Creative solutions must be identified. Achieving ‘Health for All’ requires ‘all hands on deck’ to solve this decades-old problem that continues to stymie our efforts to rehabilitate our health systems,” he insisted.

“Jamaica calls for the help of the WHO in this matter as we remain committed to achieving health for all,” the Minister added.