Advertisement
JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Nurses within the Southeast Regional Health Authority (SERHA) will no longer have to suffer the indignity of being refused access to public transportation due to fears associated with the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • This, as the Ministry of Health and Wellness has provided five new buses at a cost of more than $57 million to transport them to and from work.
  • The vehicles, along with two others that are on loan from Toyota Jamaica, are to be utilised to transport nurses in St. Catherine, Kingston and St. Andrew, and St. Thomas on a scheduled basis.

Nurses within the Southeast Regional Health Authority (SERHA) will no longer have to suffer the indignity of being refused access to public transportation due to fears associated with the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

This, as the Ministry of Health and Wellness has provided five new buses at a cost of more than $57 million to transport them to and from work.

The vehicles, along with two others that are on loan from Toyota Jamaica, are to be utilised to transport nurses in St. Catherine, Kingston and St. Andrew, and St. Thomas on a scheduled basis.

Included are four 28-seaters, one 12-seater, and two 16-seaters.

Portfolio Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, who handed over the vehicles during a ceremony at the St. Joseph’s Hospital Complex in Kingston on Thursday (March 19), said they will provide logistic support to nurses, particularly during this period of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Our nurses work around the clock… and so it is appropriate for us to assist them in terms of transportation, for security purposes and otherwise. The [handover of the buses] is quite timely, obviously with all that is happening with [the] corona [virus], and so on, and we are calling on them to work even longer hours. It certainly is a very positive thing,” he said.

The Health Minister said the gesture, which was put in train some time ago as part of negotiations with the nurses, is a demonstration of the Government’s commitment to the nation’s nurses, “to the work that they do, and a recognition also that they need support to do their work and to do it diligently and effectively”.

Recently, media reports have highlighted the plight of some nurses to whom taxi operators have denied service due to fears that the healthcare professionals could transmit the disease to the drivers and their passengers, after caring for infected individuals.

Mr. Tufton said the Ministry is in dialogue with the management of the health regions and hospitals across the island “to make sure that our nurses are properly taken care of as they carry out their duties”.

He praised the health staff, including “the team from the [Health] Ministry all the way down to the parishes”, who he said, have been performing well as the country deals with COVID-19.

“They have been under a lot of stress, and we really want to recognise them and thank them for the work that they are doing and call on Jamaica to give the fullest of support.

“Without them in the field doing the contact tracing, providing care in the institutions, in the hospitals, providing public education and information, giving tips, giving moral support, it would be that much more difficult. Indeed, we could not manage,” Dr. Tufton said.

For her part, First Vice President, Nurses Association of Jamaica (NAJ), Carmen Brissett, expressed gratitude for the support to the nurses as the health sector deals with COVID-19.

“Thank you very much for helping to alleviate the situation of the nurses at this time… . For the members of the nursing profession, it is helping to assist them in their times of need in terms of travelling on the road at the late hours that they get off work and sometimes for them to come to work,” she said.

Board Chairman, SERHA, Wentworth Charles, thanked the Ministry for its continued support.

“We want to assure the Ministry that we are going to put in place the appropriate schedule and the drivers, and to ensure the care and the protection of these vehicles,” he said.

Skip to content