Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, is calling for more medical labs to apply for accreditation, as the Government moves to position Jamaica as a health tourism destination.Mr. Hylton made the call at a ceremony to present a certificate of accreditation to Biomedical Caledonia Medical Laboratory Ltd, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Kingston, on June 25.This is the first medical lab in Jamaica to be accredited to international standards, and was done by the Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC).The Minister said there is a need to establish a world class national quality infrastructure within the field of medicine, and that accreditation is an important pillar of this national quality infrastructure.“There is probably no other area of national life where the need for quality and accuracy is more important than in our health care delivery services. Decisions related to health care must be informed by reliable and accurate information, not sometimes, but every single time,” Mr. Hylton stressed.Lab accreditation, though mandatory in some other Caribbean countries, is still a voluntary action in Jamaica. However, Minister Hylton said legislation should be put in place to ensure that lab accreditation is mandatory in Jamaica.Highlighting the importance of the Minister’s call, Chief Executive Officer of JANAAC, Marguerite Domville, pointed out that the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 70 per cent of clinical decision making is influenced by medical laboratory results.“Statistics have shown that thousands of persons die each year, due to errors in medical laboratory results. Therefore, the ISO 15-189 standard which was developed in 2003, is to ensure that this situation changes and medical labs accredited to this international standard can deliver high quality service,” she explained.Senior Lead Assessor at JANAAC, Mrs. Sonia Morgan, said that the accreditation of Biomedical Caledonia Lab is internationally accepted and meets both the requirements of ISO 15-189 and the International Laboratory Accreditation Corporation (ILAC).She outlined the process of accreditation for other labs that might be interested in becoming accredited.“The process begins with an application from the lab that is seeking accreditation, which is then reviewed by JANAAC and the findings are presented to the laboratory,” Mrs. Morgan said.She added that after the lab deals with the findings of the review, an onsite visit is conducted by the assessment team from JANAAC.“An interim report is prepared after the visit, and the lab is given an opportunity to make corrections based on the findings. The team then executes follow-up activities to assess the lab’s efforts to implement effective corrective actions,” Mrs. Morgan pointed out.A final report is then made to the CEO of JANAAC, which is sent to the Accreditation Evaluation Committee which makes the final decision.Contact: Shelly-Ann Irving/ Sanasha Pearson
Health Sector Reclassification to be Implemented Over Three YearsHealth Sector Reclassification to be Implemented Over Three Years
The Government has completed the health sector reclassification, which is to be implemented over three years, at a cost of $7 billion.This was announced by Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Finance and Planning (with responsibility for the Public Service), Hon. Horace Dalley, during his contribution to the 2013/14 Sectoral Debate in the House on July 2.“This exercise has been ongoing for almost ten years…The first payment under the new classification for the health sector is scheduled for this quarter,” Mr. Dalley noted.He explained that due to the complexity of the health sector, the reclassification exercise “may not be perfect,” but it will substantially streamline the occupational groupings in the health sector.There will be a Reclassification Appeals Tribunal to address anomalies, which may arise. The tribunal will have representation from the various groups within the health sector.Meanwhile, the Minister informed that Cabinet has instructed that the outstanding industrial issues of some eight other groups are to be addressed.These include: emergency duty allowance (2008 to 2010) for Government Medical Consultants; outstanding payment of allowances (2008 to 2010) for Veterinary Officers; payment of new rates (2010 to 2011) for West Indies Group of University Teachers (settled); realignment issues (2007 to 2011) for Education Officers (settled); relativity study between security groups for fire-fighters (payment programmed); relativity study between security groups for Correctional Officers (payment programmed); adjustment to duty rates (2008 to 2010) for Medical Doctors (payment programmed); and the delinking of salaries for legal officers from High Court Judges’ salaries(in Court).“You cannot engender trust among your employees when you have signed Heads of Agreements, and court rulings and IDT awards are left on the table to languish, because there is no respect for the sanctity of contracts and collective bargaining agreements,” he stated.Mr. Dalley said this is in conflict with good industrial relations practice. “This administration will not behave in such a manner, so we will settle these outstanding issues and ensure that there is no repeat of this type of behaviour on the part of the government of Jamaica,” the Minister said.Contact: Alphea Saunders
zoomIllustration. Image Courtesy: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license King Abdullah Port concluded 2018 with an increase of 36% in its annual throughput, which reached 2.3 million TEUs by the end of the year.The annual increase in throughput was primarily achieved in conjunction with an 8% increase in imports and exports compared to 2017, the port management said.The results achieved by King Abdullah Port in 2018 include an increase in transshipment volume reaching 1.8 million TEUs, which is a 44% increase compared to 2017. Meanwhile, the number of vessels received by the port increased to 911 vessels, a 12% increase compared to 820 vessels in 2017.“We achieved a record 50% increase in container handling in the first half of 2018, and we are moving forward with our development plans to provide best practices in the fields of port development and operation as well as supporting logistical services,” Rayan Qutub, King Abdullah Port CEO, said.Since its inception in the last quarter of 2013 the number of containers handled by the port has reached 7.2 million TEUs.Owned by the Ports Development Company, King Abdullah Port was officially inaugurated on February 11, 2019, by Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.During the ceremony, the port, which is the region’s first port to be fully owned, developed, and operated by the private sector, unveiled a number of agreements signed with several undisclosed parties.