The Opposition has welcomed an initiative by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller to meet with all Members of Parliament and Mayors at Jamaica House on Tuesday, October 14, to provide them with an update on government action related to the health emergencies facing the country.
Speaking at the Jamaica House meeting on behalf of the Opposition, Spokesman on Health, Dr. Kenneth Baugh said the comprehensive presentation by the Prime Minister on the collaborative actions being taken by the Government gave confidence that management is being brought to the situations.
He expressed the hope that the implementation of the plans would reflect the comprehensive nature of the Prime Minister’s presentation.
Meanwhile, Prime Minster Simpson Miller stressed the importance of unity and a non-partisan and non-political approach to the health emergencies. “This is our country. We all have a stake and a vested interest in protecting it and keeping our people safe and healthy,” the Prime Minister noted.
In giving details of plans for a major clean-up exercise to destroy mosquito breeding sites and thereby control the spread of ChikV, the Prime Minister said she sympathised with persons who have been affected by the painful illness. The campaign will involve targeted action in areas identified by the Ministry of Health in its mapping exercise as being among the worst affected and priority areas.
The exercise is being funded by State resources in the amount of $500 million, plus $131 million which has been provided from the Consolidated Fund to the National Solid Waste Management Authority to deal with the backlog of garbage collection. Management of the clean-up and vector control programme is being done by a team involving the Ministry of Health, the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, the JEEP Secretariat, the Ministry of Finance with logistics coordination by the Jamaica Defence Force.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister outlined a comprehensive Ebola national response and action plan led by the Ministry of Health and the Jamaica Defence Force, with a major emphasis on training, sensitisation, simulations and public communication. She pointed out that everybody has a role and a responsibility in this effort and called on the media and political operatives to be responsible in this period.
“I know that there are real concerns among the population. Let us discuss those concerns. There is nothing to be gained from inciting panic and fear,” the Prime Minister said. “Let us, as leaders, be guided by the agreed scientific facts and not speculate or express casual opinions which can cause panic and demoralise our frontline workers,” Prime Minister Simpson Miller added.
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