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Governor General, His Excellency, the Most Hon. Professor Sir Kenneth Hall has said a National Gender Policy is being crafted in order to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and to achieve gender equality.
“The Government is committed to a gender mainstreaming policy, which will involve gender-specific interventions aimed at addressing the needs of victimized and disadvantaged groups in various situations and redressing imbalances where they exist,” Sir Kenneth said.
The Governor General was delivering the Throne Speech at the State Opening of Parliament at Gordon House, today (March 27), which marks the beginning of the new fiscal year on April 1.
He also said that for the 2008/09 fiscal year, there will be a fresh strategic approach to child protection services in Jamaica.
“At the heart of this approach is improved capacity to ensure efficient and effective decision making about the nature and types of services needed by individual clients, the allocation of resources to meet these needs at the level of the family unit and the community, and emphasis on family based programming,” the Governor General explained.
Sir Kenneth also said regulatory measures will be employed and public education programmes expanded to encourage more healthy lifestyles, including proper diets, regular exercise and abstinence from disease-causing habits.
“Jamaica is experiencing an ageing population with the increasing prevalence of chronic non-communicable diseases. Much of this is induced by unhealthy lifestyles and poor dietary practices, which can be avoided,” the Governor General noted.
He pointed to the government’s thrust to ensure that persons have access to affordable health care and cited the upcoming removal of user fees on April 1, at public hospitals and health facilities.
Sir Kenneth pointed out that measures have already been put in place to manage the increased flow of patients.
“The operating hours of selected health centres will also be extended and steps will be taken to encourage greater use of those facilities for cases that do not require hospital attendance,” the Governor General said.