Health Ministry to employ UTech students to fulfil programme requirement

KevinHarvey-2Kingston, Jamaica — The Ministry of Health will employ 32 of the 41 students from the University of Technology’s present batch that is completing the Environmental Health Programme, for an internship period, which is in keeping with the requirements of the programme.

This was decided after a meeting Monday between the Health Ministry and the head of the School of Public Health at UTech, Professor Winston Davidson.

A news release from the ministry late Monday said UTECH will explore providing the necessary funding for the remaining nine students.

“We consider the matter fully resolved. The internships can begin as soon as UTech is able to make the necessary arrangements with the regional health authorities,” Permanent Secretary Dr Kevin Harvey said.

OBSERVER ONLINE received an e-mail from a group of students last Thursday, who said they were disgruntled because they had not received word about their internship start date, which should have begun on January 12.

“We have not received any favourable correspondence from the UTech Slipe Pen Road campus or the head of the School of Public Health and Health Technology (Professor Winston Davidson), as to when or if we will do our internship in order to complete the course in time for graduation in November 2015,” the e-mail read.

“We need some answers ASAP. Internship should have started on the 12th of January and up until now we are still sitting at home even though we have paid our tuition fees.

“This is utter slackness,” the e-mail continued.

The permanent secretary also clarified that the Clinical Training Agreement between the ministry and UTech does not apply to students who are doing internships, and so would not involve the students in the Environmental Health Programme.

“UTech has already signed off on an agreement with the ministry to facilitate training for undergraduates. The Clinical Training Agreement was signed by UTech this year, and requires that the institution covers a portion of the cost from training of its students in clinical health facilities,” said Dr Harvey. “The agreement covers programmes including general nursing, advanced nursing, paramedical, medical/dental, pharmacy, dietetic and nutrition, and health information technology.

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