The Caribbean Poison Information Network (CARPIN) will be educating Jamaicans about the impact of poisons, during Poison Prevention Week (PPW), slated for May 27 to June 3, 2012.
Themed: ‘Poison Prevention: Safeguarding Yourself’, the week’s activities will encourage Jamaicans to protect themselves and children in their care from toxic substances and plants that can cause harmful effects to the body.
Speaking with JIS News, Poison Information Co-ordinator at CARPIN, Sherika Ballingsingh, noted that poison prevention is critical to the development and balance of the health care system in Jamaica. She added that if preventive measures are not taken, the results could be an increase in accidental poisoning and anxiety cases that can cause a burden on the health system.
Mrs. Ballingsingh pointed out that poison centres have been set up internationally, and in Jamaica, “to alleviate the frequency of accidental poisoning in the homes and for children, especially children zero to five years of age”.
She informed that the centres are equipped to provide valuable assistance to individuals and children who have consumed toxic substances, and those persons can get help by dialling 1-888-POISONS or 1-888-764-7667.
Poison Prevention Week will begin with praise and worship on Sunday, May 27 at the Webster Memorial United Church in Kingston, beginning at 9:45 a.m.
On Monday (May 28), CARPIN will host the judging of the School Visual and Creative Arts Competition at the Edna Manley College, School of the Visual Arts. Additionally, the awards ceremony will be held on Thursday (May 31) at the St. Andrew Parish Church Hall in Kingston.
Other activities for the week include a community outreach and exhibition in Jones Town on Wednesday, May 30; a poison prevention seminar for early childhood practitioners and institutions on Friday, June 1; as well as a scientific conference at the University of Technology from June 2 to 3.
Mrs. Ballingsingh said that among the international speakers are Associate Professor and Director, Dr. Dawn Sollee and Media Relations Officer, Phyllis Bell-Davis from the Poison Centre in Jacksonville, Florida.
Local speakers include Medical Epidemiologist, Dr. Tonia Dawkins from the Ministry of Health; Project Manager/Lecturer of Natural Products Research Laboratory at UTech, Dr. Lamb; Associate Professor and Programme Director of the Doctor of Pharmacy Programme at UTech, Dr. Eugenie Brown-Myrie; Secretary for the Management Committee at CARPIN and Lecturer for Emergency Medicine Programme at the University of the West Indies, Dr. Jean Williams-Johnson; and Registrar of the Pesticides Control Authority (PCA), Michael Ramsay.
Citing the importance of poison awareness, Mrs. Ballingsingh implored Jamaicans to store toxic substances and plants in enclosed areas and in the correct containers. She also urged Jamaicans to ensure that all containers are properly labelled in order to avoid confusion, and possible cases of poisoning.
Founded in 1995, CARPIN is committed to serving Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean community through its Sentinel Centres and, through the implementation of poison prevention public education programmes and regional co-operation.
By Toni-Ann Russell, JIS PRO