The Ministry of Health has launched its strategic plan for 2019 to 2024, which focuses not on the services, but on the medical personnel providing the service. The plan is dubbed, a new approach to improving the health sector, which in recent times has come under criticism for inefficiencies and shortcomings. Dr. Ramon Figueroa, the Chief Executive Officer for the Ministry of Health, says it is important to recognize that the medical staff is the backbone of the healthcare sector.
Dr. Ramon Figueroa: “ I cannot overemphasize the importance this plan has for us in health. As we are aware and in continuous support of the human resource needs and identify gaps in our system. We are distinctly aware of the value and hard work that all our human resources invest in their day to day activities. Beyond the frontline workers a solid health system will ensure that all those involved in the healthcare whether directly of indirectly are adequately resourced, are adequately trained and that they remain at the core of the decision making at the sector. Any good and progressive health system must take care of the most valuable asset it has, that is human resource. I can assure you as we move forward that this plan has the full political support of the Minister of Health. I don’t need any further convincing that the motivated human resource is obviously crucial in meeting the over all objectives of universal access for all.”
Johnelle Mckenzie: “According to Figuero the plan comes at a crucial time when the Ministry is suffering from a shortage in health care providers as some have immigrated to other countries and it is not a career path that many are following.”
Ramon Figueroa: “We are there for at a critical period where there aren’t enough human local resources for health and this jeopardises sustaining the gains we have had in health which is needed and the achievement of the sustainable development goals by 2030. You are for sure also aware that our nursing resource has been lost to health systems in the north and now we have nurses migrating to Europe. An issue that has escalated at times and may not be getting any better for smaller countries such as Belize. This plan is therefore timely as there is energized momentum and an increasing concern for the development of our valuable human resources and we do want to make sure we are at the forefront of this. The time is therefore favourable of this plan and it has the full support of the Minister of Health. A quick review of this strategic plan identifies five strategic objectives that will be the focus of achievement in the next five years. Strategic objective number one strengthen leadership and consolidated governance in human resources for health. Strategic objective number two is develop conditions and capacities in human resource for health to expand access to health and health coverage with equity and quality. Strategic objective three’s increase investment in human resource for health in order to increase the pool of qualified personnel, improve the health of the population and contribute to national development. Strategic objective four is strengthen multisectorial collaborations to improve education systems for human resources for health and strategic objective number 5 is to strengthen health workforce partnership to respond to the needs of the health system in transformation towards universal access to health and universal health coverage.”
The plan is a comprehensive package that seeks to address all elements in the human resource structure. The Belize Human Resources for the Universal Health Strategic Plan 2019 to 2024 was launched under the theme “A more efficient and robust health workforce by 2024”, It will be given technical assistance from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO, to achieve the plan’s objectives.