Fifty residents of St. Catherine are being trained as community health aides (CHAs) in keeping with the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ strategic framework to prepare the population to live with the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The CHAs, who will be deployed in communities throughout the parish, are part of approximately 1,300 CHAs being recruited islandwide by the Ministry.
Portfolio Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, who met with the CHAs during a training session at Ascot High School in Portmore on Wednesday, July 1, said that the officers are critical to the Ministry’s surveillance activities as part of the COVID-19 containment measures.
“As we move to a new phase in managing the virus, we have to change the way we operate and a big part of that change lies in the surveillance. That is, monitoring your environment to see peoples’ behaviours, giving advice on health-seeking behaviours and where you suspect there may be a case of COVID-19,” he noted.
“Part of that surveillance is to report findings, so that we can go in quickly and solve the problem. That surveillance has to take place across Jamaica. This phase of the virus that we are embarking on is to strengthen the surveillance,” he added.
Dr. Tufton said that while the CHAs will be trained in other areas, COVID-19 is the primary focus, because we must maintain active surveillance to minimise the spread of the virus, thereby minimising deaths. You are part of the surveillance team and I welcome you”.
Public Health Nurse, Christian Pen Health Centre, Carrialeisa Henry-Rushton, said the CHAs are being trained is a variety of clinical services offered at primary healthcare facilities.