Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says the Ministry is looking to launch a Community COVID Conversation Programme.
He said the initiative, which would incorporate youth leaders, aims to educate persons in communities islandwide on measures to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), as the Government moves to bolster the sensitization and containment thrust.
Speaking at the launch of the COVID-19 Youth Leaders Response Programme, at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston on Friday (October 16), Dr. Tufton said the initiative would enable youth leaders to have one-on-one conversations with individuals at the community level regarding their concerns about COVID-19.
He said this would form part of the remit for youth leaders chosen to work on behalf of the Government through the COVID-19 Youth Leaders Response Programme.
“The Ministry of Health and Wellness, the Government and, indeed, the country needs the engagement of this young leaders group to understand the COVID-19 message and to define a role and play [their] part in that message,” the Minister emphasized.
He said engaging this cohort is critical in light of data indicating that more young people are contracting the virus, referencing national statistics which show that, to date,. 2,320 confirmed cases are persons between 10 and 30 years.
Dr. Tufton expressed concern that some of these young people, especially those who are asymptomatic, are taking the virus home and risking the health of elderly family members, particularly those with underlying conditions who are more susceptible to the COVID-19.
He said the the COVID-19 Youth Leaders Response Programme will target and recruit urban and rural youth, aged 14 to 35, for deployment within their respective communities as change agents.
Once identified, the participants will be sensitised about the protocols and guided on ways in which infection and control measures can be effectively sustained among their peers and others stakeholders, particularly vulnerable persons, with whom they interact.
They will then be tasked to go into their communities to do the requisite groundwork, utilising a range of tools.