Over 200 Community Health Aides (CHAs) so far have been recruited and are being trained by the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) in keeping with the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ strategic framework to prepare the population to live with the coronavirus (COVID-19).
These new officers will take part in an 8 week training program which will in turn assist in bridging the gap between communities and public health. Additionally, they will be deployed in communities across the parishes of Kingston and St. Andrew, St. Catherine and St. Thomas to improve the government’s effort and to boost its COVID-19 response.
The aides are a part of the 1,300 persons being recruited island wide by the Ministry. Dr. the Hon, Christopher Tufton, Minister of Health and Wellness, who met with some 41 aides during a training session at Lyssons Primary School on Thursday (July 23), said that testing is one of the several approaches to controlling the virus. He noted that surveillance at the community level is the most critical part to the roles of the CHAs.
“Part of surveillance is to monitor the environment, train community members to live a particular way, in other words promoting preventative messages before curative messages. We want more emphasis to be placed on public education and for persons to engage in practicing health seeking behaviours,” he added.
Tufton said that the parish of St. Thomas with a population of 120,000 citizens have seen three cases of COVID-19, 205 persons are currently in home quarantine and 511 persons have already completed home quarantine since the start of the outbreak. He also lauded the team from the St. Thomas Health Department for monitoring the process.
SERHA is the largest Region which administrates healthcare in Kingston and St. Andrew, St. Catherine and St. Thomas.