President of the Jamaica Association of Public Health Inspectors (JAPHI), Karen Brown, says the nation owes a great debt of gratitude to front-line health workers in the continued fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19).
In an interview with JIS News, Ms. Brown said that while there have been many “heroes and warriors” who have served admirably and have gone beyond the call of duty in Jamaica’s response to the pandemic, public health inspectors are among those who have carried the torch in an effort to safeguard the health and safety of the nation.
She cited this as the reason her organisation recently awarded a number of public health inspectors for outstanding work, both at the parish and national levels, at a function at the Moon Palace Jamaica Grande Hotel, Ocho Rios, St. Ann.
“It was our belief that we have to recognise and acknowledge those who continue to put their lives on the line in defence of the Jamaican people,” Ms. Brown said.
“The function where we awarded those who have stood out with cash prizes, plaques, trophies and certificates was done to recognise their work, to empower and motivate members while they carry out their duties in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and other environmental health duties,” she added.
Ms. Brown pointed out that the awards were given during the recent ‘Public Health Inspectors Week’, which was observed under the theme ‘Environmental Health: Forefront in Addressing the Challenges of the COVID-19 Pandemic’.
She said the public health inspectors were recognised for their exceptional impact on the COVID-19 interventions at work and in communities, with strong consideration for humanitarianism, innovation in problem-solving and going above and beyond the call of duty for the cause.
“Public Health Inspectors, on a whole, have served the country well throughout the years in implementing the environmental health programmes,” Ms. Brown noted.
“They have been working assiduously in the forefront of the COVID-19 combat for the most part in 2020. Three inspectors from each parish were selected and awarded. Ten parishes participated in the selections/nominations. They received plaques and certificates of recognition,” she added.
Ms. Brown said that Clarendon Health Department’s Charmaine Ramsay, who has been a health inspector since 1998 and has been very instrumental in leading the charge and working as part of the health team in her parish… and in their Health Emergency Operation in dealing with the epidemic, walked away as the COVID-19 Gold Star winner.
For her efforts, Ms. Ramsay also received a cash prize of $80,000 in addition to a trophy, plus day and dinner passes courtesy of Moon Palace.
“She carried out interventions in COVID-19-affected communities in the parish and supported persons infected and affected by the disease. She worked in the quarantined communities to reduce the risk of disease transmission.
Among the communities were the quarantined Corn Piece Settlement, Sandy Bay, and its environs,” Ms. Brown noted.
“Ms. Ramsay carried out case investigations, home and institution assessments, enforcing compliance with the Disaster Risk Management Act as well as other duties. Her intuition and compassion led to needy persons in quarantined communities being supplied with food, potable water and given psychosocial support,” she said.
St. Ann’s Lunce Dowdie-Campbell placed second and was awarded the COVID-19 Silver Star as well as a cash prize of $50,000, while St. Thomas Health Services’ Malvia Williams received the COVID-19 Bronze Star and a cash prize of $30,000.