JIS News

The Westmoreland Health Department has strengthened its coronavirus (COVID-19) awareness campaign to heighten citizens’ awareness about the virus, as the cases continue to increase in the parish.

Speaking with JIS News, Health Promotion and Education Officer, Gerald Miller, said that public health personnel have been engaged in sensitisation sessions across the parish, reinforcing the need for people to put into practice the infection prevention and control measures established by the Government.

The measures include the wearing of masks, social distancing and frequent washing and sanitising of hands.

Mr. Miller said that weekly visits are made to the Savana-la-Mar market, where masks and hand sanitisers are issued.

“We target the market area every Friday. We go into the market district with a megaphone and we engage the persons because that’s one of the troubled areas where you don’t see the evidence of the social distancing and the mask wearing. What we do is use the megaphone to remind them of the protocols and, sometimes, we give out masks to people,” he said.

Mr. Miller told JIS News that the National Council for Senior Citizens (NCSC) in the parish has partnered with the health department on the initiative, by engaging elderly vendors and residents.

“We engaged some of the seniors because they are very vulnerable, so we handed out masks and sanitisers to the seniors in particular, who we recognised had on masks but some of these masks were not clean. We reminded them of the risks of contracting COVID-19 and the seriousness of it for them,” he pointed out.

He told JIS News that one of the things observed is that most of the older persons are likely to wear a mask.

“They are more compliant with the protocols than the younger population… they are heeding the warning from the National Council for Senior Citizens, as they have been out there giving information,” he noted.

Mr. Miller pointed out that clinics are also used “to beef up public education”, noting that visits are made to the DrugServ Pharmacy at the Savanna-la-Mar Hospital at least three times per week, “and we use the megaphones to remind the persons religiously, about the protocols”.

He noted that the National Health Fund (NHF) also financed an initiative where town criers were used in the five health districts across the parish “to remind persons about mask wearing and the sanitising of hands”.

Mr. Miller said that information is also disseminated across social media platforms.

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