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Government of Jamaica



The National Health Fund, NHF, is this year supporting the National Youth Service

Programme for Health Promotion Facilitators with a grant of $32 million. The grant has facilitated a four week training programme for three hundred youths, and will provide funds to support community interventions for health promotion and stipend for the Health Promotion Facilitators Corps. Two Hundred and seventy (270) participants will be placed with the Ministry of Health and thirty (30) will be placed with the Roving Care Givers Programme of the Ministry of Education. Representatives of both Ministries conducted the Special Orientation Curriculum for the training programme.

The Health Promotion Facilitators programme will focus on reaching hard-to-reach communities and participants will be placed as healthy lifestyle promoters: in schools; assisting health educators and Community Health Aides; in Secondary school sick bays and guidance counseling units; in primary schools to conduct workshops, organize debates and expositions; and in communities to work with youth clubs, church groups health centres and select promotional projects.

Three expositions will also be held in each parish within the communities selected, with the emphasis being on the care and protection of the elderly, disabled children and the mentally ill.

Speaking at the Graduation Ceremony for the initial four week training which was held on Thursday April 13, 2006 at the Cobbla Training Centre, Manchester, Mr. Rae Barrett, Chief Executive Officer of the NHF, noted that the reason for supporting this programme was related to the increase in chronic diseases in the Jamaican population and the need to promote healthy choices for all ages, in order to prevent or delay the progress of chronic diseases.

He cited statistics from the Registrar General?s Department which revealed that sixty-three percent (63%) of deaths in Jamaica are as a result of five chronic diseases ? diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and cancers. Mr. Barrett pointed out however that ?there are many, many thousands of individuals with these conditions that are disabled as a result and are not as productive as they should be and many depend on others to take care of them. Promoting health helps individuals remain productive and independent longer.?

He encouraged the Youth Service workers who were trained as Health Promotion Facilitators during the training programme at Cobbla, to continue learning about healthy lifestyle by reading and listening to health information, because the four weeks of training was just a start. He warned the facilitators to pass on correct information on healthy living and advised them not to be afraid to say ?I don?t know let me ask nurse or doctor and get back to you with an answer.?

The CEO of the NHF says the Health Promotion Facilitators will help people to make better health choices and assist them to take responsibility for their own health. He called on the youths to use their creativity to help them succeed at passing the message of healthy lifestyles to the communities where they will be stationed and encouraged them to be ambassadors for the National Health Fund.

Mr. Barrett said there are many persons who could be benefiting from the NHF but who are not because they have not taken the time to apply, believe it is not for them and there were others who do not know they have a chronic disease and therefore would not seek help from the NHF. He said as Health Promotion Facilitators the youths should encourage people to get tested for chronic diseases.

The National Health Fund, since it began operations in April 2004, has approved grants amounting to nearly $3 billion. Institutional Benefit Grants from the NHF are provided to improve the delivery of health care in Jamaica; promote healthy lifestyle and disease prevention and reduce the burden of health care in Jamaica.

Contact: Rosemarie Lee, Public Information Officer NHF, Tel: 906-1106

Shermaine Robotham, Health & Communication Projects, 756-1068, 997-5442

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