Massive boost: $2.5-B scholarship fund to train healthcare workers Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

The Government has announced a $2.5-billion scholarship programme to train healthcare workers whose skills will be needed to fill critical positions as the build-out and expansion of health facilities continue apace.

It is part of the Administration’s strategy to retain healthcare workers who are highly recruited by developed countries, in particular the United States and the United Kingdom.

Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton announced the Dr Barry Wint Memorial and Development Fund on Tuesday during his contribution to the 2024/25 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives.

It will run over five years at $500 million each year.

The scholarships will be open to Jamaicans who are pursuing studies in the following areas:

nursingmedicinepublic healthmedical technologyepidemiologyhealth records managementhospital/health care managementinformation systems for healthpharmacydentistryhealth economics

“These are some of the critical groups that we need to fill the gaps in our HR requirements. We will also be exploring overseas clinical rotations and remote faculty for expanded training in these areas,” Tufton shared.

He said the government was exploring the possibility of flexi-contract arrangements for persons who are trained jointly across jurisdictions and institutions, involving institutions outside Jamaica.

The minister said graduate and postgraduate students would be eligible to apply for the scholarships.

Importantly, successful applicants will have to commit and be bonded to working within the public health system for a period.

“We are hoping that this facility will be available for the semester starting September of 2024,” said Tufton.

Information related to the scholarship fund will be made available in the media and on the website of the Ministry of Health and Wellness by July 2024.

Said Tufton: “As we train, we will embrace a wider recruitment strategy. We will be strengthening the interagency collaboration around recruitment from non-traditional jurisdictions where we have shortages in specialised areas.

“We are hoping that this fund will provide the impetus for the transformation of the mind that we need while improving our retention strategy for critical health care personnel,” he said.

“I am making an appeal to our institutions of training to rise to the challenge, recalibrate their training curriculum to meet the practical challenges of our times in healthcare, forge partnerships inside and outside of the country, where necessary, and let’s truly make the difference that only a transformed mind can lead and achieve,” said Tufton.