KINGSTON, Jamaica, Wednesday May 29, 2019 – The Ministry of Health and Wellness is putting measures in place to increase the number of nurses serving the public health sector.
Chief Nursing Officer, Patricia Ingram Martin, said the Cuban Nursing Programme is to be expanded in the short-term, and the Ministry is looking to forge bilateral arrangements with other countries in order to build local capacity.
Ingram Martin, who was speaking at the launch of four new programmes by the Council of Community Colleges of Jamaica (CCCJ) at The Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston recently, noted that the public sector lost 537 nurses in 2018, 526 of them due to resignations.
“We continue to have challenges with the migration of our health workers, particularly our nurses. This has affected our ability to adequately serve key areas of need, including the provision of human resources for health in remote areas of the country,” she pointed out.
“The fact is, we can’t prevent our health professionals from seeking employment elsewhere. However, we can discourage it by offering better working conditions, training and, where necessary, recruiting to supplement our local staff.”
Ingram Martin commended the CCCJ on the introduction of the new programmes, three of which are related to health.
They are Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Bachelor of Science in Social Work, Associate of Applied Science in Health and Wellness Tourism, and Associate of Applied Science in Agro- Processing and Business Management.
The courses are being offered in collaboration with the Nursing Council of Jamaica (NCJ) and non-profit human development organisation, FHI 360.
Ingram Martin said the Bachelor of Science in Nursing would assist in strengthening the health workforce.
“Nurses account for the majority of technical human resources in the public health sector. They are frontline healthcare providers with the requisite training skills to appropriately identify, treat and refer clients throughout the healthcare continuum,” she noted.
The Chief Nursing Officer said the country’s nurses have contributed significantly to the achievement of the Ministry’s priority areas, including improved immunisation coverage, sustaining the fight against non-communicable and communicable diseases, decreasing infant, child and maternal mortality, among others.
“The Ministry of Health and Wellness is depending on nurses and other healthcare professionals to meet its Vision 2030 target of access for all,” she said.