??Some of the participants at the training workshop listen attentively to the presentations. (A. Miller/BGIS)

Capacity building plays a dominant role in the Ministry of Health’s effort to strengthen and further develop its systems and to renew primary health care in Barbados.

This point was underscored yesterday at the Ministry’s headquarters at the Frank Walcott Building, as Health Minister, Donville Inniss, addressed the close of a workshop on Urgent Care/Triage/Train The Trainers.

Noting that these were part of a series of initiatives embarked upon to broaden human and institutional scope, the Minister said: "The success of these efforts to build capacity depends heavily on political will and credibility, adequate financing, and a responsive capacity-building plan that is based on a thorough situational analysis of the resources needed for health care delivery in Barbados."

He explained that the programmes were developed in response to specific health system needs, which were identified through research on extending opening hours at the Winston Scott, Randal Phillips and the Maurice Byer polyclinics.

The Minister divulged that the results of the study revealed that extending hours at those institutions met new health needs and improved access to primary care by providing more convenient times for clients. He stated: "It also showed that we were able to strengthen the primary health care system by ensuring that some essential health services are available longer at the first point of entry in the health care system."

According to Mr. Inniss, it did not, however, reduce the waiting time in the Accident and Emergency Department (A&E, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, NULL, NULL, 0); the number of non-emergency patients seeking care at A&E, or overcrowding in that department.

"That was mainly due to clients continually returning to A&E for minor injuries because they did not want to go to polyclinics for care, or clients perceiving that all of their injuries or illnesses were emergencies and would not be adequately handled by our polyclinics," Mr. Inniss stressed.

It was explained that the study also pointed to the need to upgrade knowledge and skills in Emergency Medical Assessment and Treatment Practices to improve the delivery of primary health care services at the polyclinics so as to reduce the number of clients referred to A&E for minor injuries and illnesses.

He noted that another area of concern was the unavailability of appropriate health technology at the polyclinics to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases and injuries. Mr. Inniss explained "that often resulted in clients from the polyclinics having to be referred to A&E, in particular, or the QEH in general, for further assessments and medical treatments that should be performed within our primary health system".

According to the Minister, the decision was, therefore, taken to strengthen the human and institutional capacity of the health sector by training the nursing and medical staff from polyclinics in further triaging and by providing appropriate health technology.


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