The project will be rolled out this month under a four-year $2.8 billion (€22 million) European Union (EU)-funded Programme for the Reduction of Maternal and Child Mortality (PROMAC).
The training programme aims to strengthen the participants’ skills and expertise in maternal and child health care delivery, as part of the Ministry’s initiative targeting a two-thirds reduction in Jamaica’s mortality rate in these two areas.
This is in keeping with the goals of the United Nations (UN) 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Four and Five, which also focus on improving facilities and infrastructure at health institutions.
The training will be conducted by American health organization, Footprints Foundation, and has been formalized under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), signed by Health Minister, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, and the entity’s Chief Executive Officer, Lorna Owens, during the recent launch at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.
Speaking at the ceremony, Ms. McFarlane said the training of primary and community healthcare workers and aides will enable them to “successfully engage significant numbers of community members (thereby) increasing their knowledge and reducing barriers to healthcare quality.”
She cited studies indicating that enhancing community health aides skills improves “compliance” in the service delivered to residents, “who would, otherwise, be without consistent medical care.”
“This is a strategy to better help meet the changing health needs of the Jamaican population. The demographic transition to an aging population and the epidemiological changes have also impacted maternal health needs and, ultimately, impact maternal and child mortality. Chronic non-communicable diseases (such as diabetes and hypertension) are a major cause of complications in pregnancy, and have impacted the negative outcomes,” she noted.
Ms. McFarlane pointed out that while the outcome of the six-month training programme will not be evaluated during the current period of the MDGs, it will remain “quite relevant,” as the unmet goals of the MDGs will be continued under the third health goal of the post-2015 Development Agenda that seeks to “ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all, at all ages.”
One target is to reduce the maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births and end preventable newborn, infant, and under five deaths by 2030, the timeline for the country’s attainment of developed country status, under the long-term Vision 2030 National Development Plan.
“The Government, primarily through the Ministry of Health, will continue all its efforts to improve maternal and child health, and will need all the resources to achieve these new targets,” Ms. McFarlane said.
Noting that the PIOJ, a key implementing stakeholder for PROMAC, welcomed the EU’s support for the programme towards achieving MDGs Four and Five, Ms. McFarlane said the Institute anticipates “working more closely” with the programne and all its partners.
“This is to strengthen our collective capacity in this area, to achieve the objectives and actions of the International Conference on Population Development (ICPD), the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and the Post-2015 Development Agenda, as we strive to achieve developed country status by 2030,” she added.
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