$400M external funding to be expended on nursing programme
– Minister Ramsammy
The Ministry of Health is preparing to expend more than $400M over the next three years on its nursing programme, a move that is likely to entail plans to have the curriculum delivered through distance mode.
And according to Minister of Health, Dr Leslie Ramsammy, this substantial fund does not represent the normal Government budget, but rather additional funds from external sources. A decision, he said, has been made this year to have the monies directed to the Ministry’s nursing schools, including Charles Rosa Nursing School, the New Amsterdam Nursing School and the Georgetown School of Nursing.
And the intent, the Minister said, is to upgrade and modernise the facilities even as efforts are made to transform the style of lessons delivery by incorporating the distance mode. “A lot of lectures need not be delivered in persons but even when it is delivered in person the teaching style could be enhanced by having lectures on CDs.
“This is the way that we are moving the nursing schools and indeed I am negotiating right now for many of these lecturers to be available on CDs,” the Minister disclosed.
He revealed that at the moment many nursing schools in the United States, for instance, have moved almost fully toward delivery of lectures through CDs followed by interactive sessions with nursing students so that there is no longer the need for extensive note taking.
“We are modernising how we deliver these sessions…through PAHO and through the auspices of CDC/PEPFAR will enable us to do those things and therefore make better use of our human resource.”
And even as efforts are made to modernise, measures will be put in place to expand the intake at the nursing schools. He said that come April 19, the nursing schools will have the largest single entry ever in the history of local and Caribbean nursing.
Almost 600 students will enter the professional nursing and nursing assistant programmes, he added.
The Minister admitted that since the public health sector does not have the space to facilitate such an undertaking, plans are apace to make available more space. But this will not be realised in time for the April commencement of classes. The Ministry has been forced, therefore, to offer classes in double shift and in an innovative way.
On Friday, the Health Ministry and by extension the nursing schools accepted a substantial endowment from PAHO Representative Dr Kathleen Israel. This endowment was funded by Centres for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC)/PEPFAR but was channelled through PAHO.
In receiving the endowment, the Minister had revealed that the delivery of health care this year is likely to amount to an estimated $25B. And according to him, Government has, through the national budget, committed $13.3B. Another $3B will be acquired through the private sector, leaving the health sector short of about $9B.
“When we add up what our technical partners such as PAHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, UNAIDS provide us through their technical assistance and when we add PEPFAR we get about $4B, making it about $20B, leaving us short about $5B.”
And this situation, the Minister admitted, is created because the Ministry prides itself on setting mainly ambitious goals. According to him, if it were not for the extra support, the public health sector would not be in a position to deliver the health care that it is able to offer.
In emphasising major support from PEPFAR, the Minister revealed that a large part of the $4B that is garnered through external budgetary sources comes from the United States President’s Initiative Fund.