The health system was de-centralized in 1997 with the promulgation of the Health Services Act and establishment of four Regional Health Authorities, to deliver health care to the population: –
- The South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA)
- The North East Regional Health Authority (NERHA)
- The Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA)
- The Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA)
The MOH has a five year strategic planning cycle. A new National Strategic Plan for 2006-2010 took effect in April 2006 and will guide the Ministry’s operations over the period. The plan was prepared In keeping with GOJ Strategic/Corporate Planning methodologies and processes, and is outcome oriented. It reflects national, regional and international development guidelines, and used a participatory approach with extensive stakeholder consultation to obtain consensus on a broad range of health related issues.
The priorities are selected based on national Health needs and the island’s disease burden, as well as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for global development. The health system relies on strong partnerships to maintain the gains of previous years and to be effective in decreasing the major threats to population health. Thus, priorities for health include the need to reduce/control the spread of HIV/AIDS, focus on Maternal and Child Health, for example, reducing maternal mortality; and implementing the Healthy Lifestyle Policy, promulgated in 2004, to control the incidences of Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases (CNCDs) that are lifestyle related.
The strategies dictate increased attention to health education and promotion to reorient our people towards health seeking behaviours. This is based on a recognition of the cause and effect principles of engaging in risky behaviour related to lifestyles and facilitating individuals taking responsibility for their own health status and making informed decisions and choices.
The strategy also recognises that expectations are high in keeping with mass media portrayal of the management of illness in developed countries. The system must therefore seek to perform to these standards. However, there is low awareness of the increasing cost of maintaining an effective health care system. While “User Fees” were introduced recently and persons are asked to make a contribution for health care services, this represents only a fraction of the real costs to the system. The MOH has therefore developed partnerships with local, regional and international organizations to facilitate meeting the challenges, achieving the objectives and maintaining standards, in keeping with the expectations and our aim to deliver a high quality health service to ensure the health and wellbeing of our population.