JIS News

The Ministry of Health is to become more involved in training members of the public in first aid measures.It will be strengthening its collaboration with Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) such as the Jamaica Red Cross and St. John Ambulance, as part of its overall strategy for 2005.
The NGOs, which work with several government ministries, especially during times of disasters, have quietly been training the public in first aid and other measures as part of an on-going programme.
According to Dr. Marion Bullock-Ducasse, Senior Medical Officer (SMO) of Health and Director of Special Projects, Emergency Management and Disaster Services, the patient outcome, especially at the scene of emergencies, would be greatly improved if at least 10 per cent of the population were trained in first aid. “The impact that it will have in terms of handling persons at the scene of any emergency is immeasurable,” she told JIS News during Earthquake Awareness Week, adding that the Ministry would strive to work further with the organisations to reach more communities.
The public, the SMO noted, also had a role to play in seeking out branches of the NGOs, like the Jamaica Red Cross within their proximity, to volunteer. “You can even offer yourself as part of a group for training in first aid,” she pointed out.
These organisations, she added, would be more than willing to conduct training in schools, particularly targeting teachers as well as bus drivers, conductors and taxi operators.
The initiative is timely, especially in light of the recent disasters, which include the recent earthquake-related tsunami in Asia and flooding in parts of Europe. It is also extremely important given the fact that, usually the first persons to get to any injured party during a disaster are those who live close by, be it a neighbour, relative or friend.Earthquake Awareness Week is being observed this week under the theme, ‘Earthquake has no season. Be aware, you can prepare’.
The observance marks the anniversaries of the earthquakes of January 14, 1907 and January 13, 1993.

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