Hara, far right, poses with health and JICA officials

Hara, far right, poses with health and JICA officials

The Ministry of Health (MOH) has said farewell to Japanese International Corporation Agency (JICA) Volunteer, Natsuki Hara, who was attached to the Health Information Unit, at the Princess Margaret Hospital.

Hara, a Computer Data Engineer, arrived in Dominica just under three years ago to aid in strengthening the Health Information System in Dominica and to build on the contribution of previous volunteers

During his tenure Hara developed a Web-based Disease Surveillance System Communicable Diseases and an interface to be used for the web portal to be built for the new integrated information system for health. He also provided valuable support for the overall strengthening of the information system in the Ministry as well as direct support to some sister OECS countries.

According to Dr Paul Ricketts, the National Epidemiologist and Head of the Health Information Unit, at the Princess Margaret Hospital, Hara has contributed tremendously to the vision of the Unit.

“The technical advice given will result in stronger development process for the Unit”. Dr Ricketts stated further that other countries in the region are interested in the tool developed by Hara and some countries have already been using earlier versions of the tool developed here,” he said.

Dr. Ricketts also expressed his thanks for the tremendous assistance provided by JICA and looks forward for continued support to the Health Information Unit, as Ministry of Health and the Government of Dominica continued to build bridges between Dominica and Japan.

Hara said he is proud of his contribution in advancing the Health Information programme in Dominica. He cited that lack of information can cause serious economic gaps and one of JICA’s goal is to reduce these economic gaps.

Resident Representative of JICA, Kurabayashi Kazuo, expressed his gratitude on behalf of JICA for accommodating Japanese Volunteer Natsuki Hara. He pledged his organization’s continued cooperation with the Ministry of Health.

Health minister, Julius Timothy, took the opportunity to thank the JICA Head for the assistance being provided to the Ministry and to continue to assist Dominica to strengthen the health sector. He mentioned that with Dominica’s emerging health systems more interaction is needed between local and international consultants in finding up-to-date treatment for patients.

“(Through the use of computer technologies) we will strengthen the health system in Dominica and reduce on the exorbitant cost of overseas treatment for patients,” he said.

The Ministry of Health handed a certificate and gift of appreciation to Hara at a short ceremony on Friday December 13, 2013