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Story Highlights

  • In March, the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, as well as SDC offices across the country, activated the RONA Helpline Senior Care Response initiative, designed to aid senior citizens over the age of 70 years old with specific support who are in critical need.
  • Some 16 contact points have been established for those seeking assistance to call in. The Local Government Ministry is one point of contact, while the other 15 locations are SDC parish offices.

The Social Development Commission (SDC) remains a tower of strength for the vulnerable and underprivileged amidst the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Jamaica.

In March, the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, as well as SDC offices across the country, activated the RONA Helpline Senior Care Response initiative, designed to aid senior citizens over the age of 70 years old with specific support who are in critical need.

SDC Parish Manager for St. James, Randy Hayle, told JIS News that this includes access to medical care, food and sanitation supplies.

He explained that this critical State service will primarily benefit those elderly persons who do not have the requisite support system at home.

“The RONA Helpline is a communication line that addresses some vulnerability of the elderly in communities; for example to fill their prescriptions or maybe to go to the supermarket to get some grocery items or to fulfil some other purpose. So, if you do not have any family support, you’re going to call the RONA helpline,” he said.

Some 16 contact points have been established for those seeking assistance to call in. The Local Government Ministry is one point of contact, while the other 15 locations are SDC parish offices.

Mr. Hayle indicated that SDC personnel will screen calls and mobilise responses to the homes of the elderly to provide the specific support requested.

“So, if you don’t have any support and you have a prescription you want to be filled, you call the line. We will come and pick up the prescription and [sometimes] provide the funding to take care of the prescription and take back the medication to you,” he noted.

Mr. Hayle said that in St. James, there have been a few call-ins and persons are being screened to determine the validity of their requests.

The RONA helpline operates from 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Mondays to Fridays.

Persons can contact their respective SDC parish office for assistance. The Local Government Ministry’s RONA Helpline contact numbers are 876-618-8218, 876-879-8948 or 876-879-8950.

In the meantime, Mr. Hayle said the agency continues to assist government effort in sensitising and bringing awareness about the risks of COVID-19 and how persons can protect themselves.

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