Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Christopher Tufton, says community health aides (CHA) continue to play an integral role in the island’s fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Addressing a COVID-19 sensitisation press briefing at Sam Sharpe Square in Montego Bay, St. James on September 25, the Minister said that the CHAs are “by far, the most important people in the field representing public health”.
“One of the biggest things that you have to do as community health aides is to get the community to accept you – go out every day, live among the people, be a part of the people, and advise them about what it means to take care, so that they do not get COVID-19,” he said.
“When you get old and have your grandchildren, you are going to look back at this experience and say ‘this global pandemic called COVID, I played a part in saving many Jamaicans’ lives’,” he added.
The Minister told journalists that some 91 additional CHAs for the parish were close to completing their training at the St. James Public Health Department, after which they will immediately join the fight against the virus.
“We are going to deploy them in all the communities in St. James and they are going to be playing a role where they will… help the community to know what measures to take, collect information, take that information back and help us to manage COVID-19 at the community level. So, they are very important,” he informed.
Dr. Tufton said he had also met with the team at the Emergency Operating Centre (EOC) in the parish “just to hear what they were doing, encourage them and to tell them about some of the plans that we have as we move forward to manage the community transition phase of COVID-19”.
Following the press briefing, the Health Minister, along with the CHAs, handed out masks and pamphlets containing facts about COVID-19 to residents.