Career & Education

Nurses to march to end violence against women in western Jamaica

Sunday, May 06, 2018

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SCORES of nurses will take to the streets of Falmouth on Saturday, May 26, to bring awareness to the issue of violence against women and children.

The march, spearheaded by LASCO/NAJ Nurse of the Year 2017/2018, Natalie Hylton-Levy, follows a similar event held last month in Kingston as part of the Orange Day initiative.

Orange Day was designated by the United Nations Secretary-General's campaign UNiTE to End Violence Against Women. It calls upon civil society, governments, and UN partners to mobilise people and highlight issues relevant to preventing and ending violence against women and girls, not only once a year on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November), but every month.

The nurse of the year wants to use the march in western Jamaica to help raise additional funds to help the children of nurse Ophelia Wollaston, having already raised $74,000.

Wollaston was allegedly murdered by an ex-partner last year.

Hylton-Levy is also seeking to contribute to the Women's Centre in Montego Bay.

“It's important for us to raise a substantial amount for the family and the women's centre,” Hylton-Levy said.

Plans are also underway to sell bumper stickers, to not only help raise money for the cause, but to promote the message of ending violence against women and children.

“The bumper stickers will help infuse in people's consciousness the issue of gender- based violence and the need to eliminate it,” Hylton-Levy said.

Orange Day march was first held locally in 2016 by the then LASCO/NAJ Nurse of the Year, Treveen Palmer-Miller, with successive winners continuing the initiative.

But the death of Wollaston reinforced the need to promote Orange Day.

“This year it became more personal with the death of Nurse Wollaston. We want to make her the face of the Orange Day march,” the nurse of the year said.

Hylton-Levy also wants more people to do their part to end violence against women and children.

“Orange Day, designated for the 25th of each month, is not widely publicised, so we want the society as a whole to come on board,” Hylton-Levy said, adding that “three in four women are victims of violence.”

To address the lack of awareness of the movement to eliminate violence against women and children, the Nurses' Association of Jamaica has partnered with another like-minded group to promote Orange Day in schools.

“The plan is to go into schools and talk to the students there about gender-based violence,” Hylton-Levy shared.

She has also launched a poster competition to promote the message to end violence against women.

Five entries from tertiary institutions across the island have already been received for the poster competition, and the winners will be announced at the annual Nurse and Student of the Year Ceremony.

For her part, NAJ President Carmen Johnson stressed the importance of communicating good morals and attitudes to the younger generation.

At the same time, nurses locally are set to improve their capacity to provide meaningful care and assistance to women and girls who have been victims of violence through a global campaign dubbed Nursing Now.

Nursing Now is being undertaken in collaboration with the International Council of Nurses (ICN) and the World Health Organization (WHO) and seeks to raise the status of nurses globally and to maximise the contribution that nursing makes to universal health coverage, women's empowerment and economic development.

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