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Crime fear in health, Minister appeals for staff protection

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  • Published in Health
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Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton (left) in dialogue with his Permanent Secretary Elaine Foster Allen and Peace Management Initiative Chairman Rev Everton Jackson on the adverse effects of gun violence on staff and services at public health centres in St James. Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton (left) in dialogue with his Permanent Secretary Elaine Foster Allen and Peace Management Initiative Chairman Rev Everton Jackson on the adverse effects of gun violence on staff and services at public health centres in St James.
MONTEGO BAY, September 30, 2016 - With the recent upsurge in gun violence across the parish of St James taking a toll on the public health services, Minister of Heath Dr Christopher Tufton has issued a public appeal for the safety of staff.

On Thursday, September 29, Minister Tufton met with staff at health centres in Granville, Glendevon and Saltspring where was he joined by Member of Parliament for Central St James, Heroy Clarke and Councillor Sylvan Reid.

Dr Tufton issued a direct appeal to the communities of Granville, Glendevon and Saltspring: “These are communities in which the staff is under threat and I want to appeal to those communities to do what you can to support our public entities. The health centres are here for you, to serve your purpose and your interest.”

Concern has been mounting among health service workers, especially those operating in the crime-ridden communities.

Dr Tufton said the visit “was primarily to lend support to those who operate under challenging circumstances in this environment.” As far as health and the violence is concerned, he said, “It is a big challenge for those members of the hospital and the clinics to cope and respond to the aggressive and violent behaviour in the society.”

In his appeal, he added, “Protecting both the facilities and the personnel who operate within them and for you is absolutely important to the well-being of the community and by extension to the parish and to the country.”

While appealing and lending moral support, the Health Minister expressed hope that “we will see an end to all of this and the communities can be restored to normality.”

He expressed satisfaction that “we have a tremendous staff complement; persons who have been working hard for many years and are trying under trying circumstances and they are resolute to continue and do what they have to do.”

But at the same time, he noted, “they are human.” He added, “They have issues; they want to feel protected, they want to function without having to feel that they must look behind them and second guess persons who are coming in to use the facilities. So, it’s important that we give them that reassurance and we’re here to do that at the level of the ministry; it’s important that the community also play their part in ensuring that these facilities are supported.”

Dr Tufton was accompanied by Permanent Secretary Elaine Foster Allen, Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA) Board Chairman Anthony Hart, other senior health personnel from the region and Peace Management Initiative Chairman (PMI), Rev. Everton Jackson.

Echoing the minister’s appeal, Clarke reminded that “the health facilities here are not for anything else but to be of great assistance to you and yours and therefore you must see them as part of the family and make sure that they are more secure than anything else.”

Speaking for the PMI, Rev Jackson said “we are committed to continuing our therapeutic intervention by way of offering grief support, particularly to those persons who directly affected and also to the staff members of the respective health centres.”

He too appealed to the citizens “to consider that we’re all in this together and that all of us need to work together so that we can out a lid on the galloping pace of crime and violence.”

  • Countries: Jamaica

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