The Full Story
The COVID-19 pandemic has taught a critical lesson, that personal responsibility for one’s own well-being is the most “impactful response” to health and wellness, says Health and Wellness Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton.
Addressing the opening ceremony of the Jamaica COVID-19 Intra-Action Review Meeting, at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa in St. James, on Wednesday (September 7), Dr. Tufton said the global health crisis has underscored the need for the public to understand and appreciate “how they can protect themselves in a crisis, such as COVID, and also in terms of good public health practices.”
“COVID has taught us that if we do not get personal or take individual responsibility, as a start, and then collective responsibility, beyond that, there is no public health system that can solve the problem that you have,” he added.
Dr. Tufton stressed that the prevention message must be reinforced, noting that the Ministry is pushing to entrench a culture of personal wellness through public education.
“Public health is about prevention and that’s why we’re reforming primary health care to put more people on the ground, more people in the community, to encourage more people to screen rather than wait until they’re sick,” the Minister added.
He noted that another key lesson from the pandemic is the need to strengthen partnerships within the health sector to foster greater resilience.
“We only function well when that collaboration takes place and, having been here for six plus years as Minister, I do believe that sometimes that collaboration could be tighter, in terms of how information is collected, tabulated, and transmitted. I believe that COVID taught us how important it should be,” the Minister said.
Dr. Tufton argued that despite the challenges, the pandemic has presented an opportunity for Jamaica to bolster its public health sector.
“Even while we’re witnessing the tail end of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s not over, it is still here. But we have enough information over the last two plus years, not just to learn lessons, but to continue to adjust in the interest of building greater resilience in public health,” he added.
The meeting was organised by the Ministry in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
It was aimed at collating the learning opportunities and identifying areas for targetted improvements stemming from the COVID-19 experience.