Show more compassion to health care workers, Tufton urgesMonday, March 01, 2021
ALMOST 600 workers in the public health system have already been trained to properly administer COVID-19 vaccines, and in anticipation of the first batch arriving on the island and considering their high-stress work environment Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton has appealed to Jamaicans to show them more sympathy.
Speaking last Thursday at the official launch of another of the ministry's Adopt-a-Clinic initiative at the Duhaney Park Health Centre in St Andrew, Tufton was concerned that the work of doctors and nurses was being undermined and that there were persons distracting the nation from realising the high level of preparation taking place in order to procure and safely store the vaccines when they begin arriving this week.
Hardware and Lumber became the official adopter of the Duhaney Park Health Centre on Thursday and has committed to spend more than $3 million to buy equipment and to uplift the aesthetics at the facility over a three-year period.
Tufton pointed out that the daily sacrifices of the more than 17, 000 public sector health care workers must not be overlooked as they continue to battle COVID-19 as part of their jobs, while at the same time placing their families at great risk of contracting the virus.
The minister said roughly 2,000 doctors and nurses have been tested for COVID-19 with 500 of them testing positive. He said there was no doubt that health care workers in the field faced the greatest risk of catching the virus than any other category of professionals in Jamaica.
“There is no other single category of worker that has had a 23 per cent positivity rate based on tests and we must recognise them for that. That is their mandate when they opted to sign up for public health. Nevertheless, we should not devalue the sacrifices they make each day.
“We need to pause for a moment to appreciate and support those in the trenches providing the work everyday, because they can't afford to be distracted by talk.
“They have to be committed and have continuously made sacrifices. We have seen over 600 being trained to administer the vaccine. That's not an often reported detail. What we focus on [instead] is the fact that the vaccines don't come yet. In all the debate that goes on, remember one day to say thanks to a public health worker,” the minister urged.
Tufton added that more than eight million masks were procured for health care workers in the past year through the National Health Fund along with 900, 000 gowns and nearly 20 million gloves.
Managing director of Hardware and Lumber Marcus Richards told the Jamaica Observer that it chose to adopt the clinic in Duhaney Park because his company's main operations in Kingston and St Andrew are based in the area and the company has the responsibility of taking care of the people. He also highlighted the economic woes the Government is currently in and said where corporate entities can fill the gap, they should.
The Duhaney Park Health Centre is one of three clinics that the company will support financially.
“It is important for us to reach out and re-establish ourselves in this community and the role we need to play in this community. We are proud adopters. I don't think it is as much a big deal for us at Hardware and Lumber as it is a big deal for the community.
“We know the Government is under pressure because of COVID so wherever there is a need that we think we can help with, we will step up and do our part. We have been a fabric of Jamaica for over 93 years and we don't do and enjoy that selfishly,” Richards said.
— Jason Cross
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