Connect with us

Caribbean News

CARPHA Certified as First Pharmaceutical Lab in Jamaica

Published

on

 

#Jamaica, December 29, 2017 – Kingston – The Caribbean Public Health Agency-Drug Testing Laboratory in Jamaica (CARPHA-DTL) has been certified by the Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC), as the first pharmaceutical laboratory in the island.   Accreditation of CARPHA for laboratory testing and calibration techniques is in compliance with the ISO 17025 standard, and marks a significant endorsement of the agency’s capabilities to test the quality of pharmaceutical finished products in order to ensure safe and consistent care of patients.   These products include capsules, tablets, creams, ointments, suspensions, syrups, and lotions.

The JANAAC certification will allow the agency to act as the gatekeeper to test and prevent illegal/counterfeit prescriptions, drug, medicines and other pharmaceuticals being circulated in Jamaica and the wider region.   As the single regional public health agency for the Caribbean, CARPHA’s international accreditation for laboratory testing will mean that access to healthcare and essential quality medicines/pharmaceutical products will be improved and be of greater standard. This is critical for the Caribbean population’s well-being and optimal health.

CARPHA’S Executive Director, Dr. C. James Hospedales, says the agency stands to benefit greatly from the certification, which, he notes, distinguishes it from other pharmaceutical quality-control facilities.   He says the agency plays a critical role in providing valuable information that informs decision-making and influences policy across the region in order to strengthen health systems, thereby promoting healthy lives and well-being.

Dr. Hospedales, who was speaking at the accreditation ceremony held recently at the lab’s Hope Gardens offices in St. Andrew, says that the initiative aligns with CARICOM’s strategy of advancing initiatives for health and wellness by ensuring access to safe, reliable medicines.   He notes that member States will have access to data to undertake evidence-based approaches to enable early warning, risk reduction and management of national public health risks.

He says, further, that the accreditation can advance health tourism in Jamaica. “The future of health tourism is real, and Jamaica, through CARPHA, can be the forerunners in the region in this arena,” the Executive Director says.

Meanwhile, Dr. Hospedales informs that CARPHA will be introducing a new surveillance programme in 2018.   This, he informs, will allow the laboratory to monitor medicines such as those used for the control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

Chairman of the JANAAC Accreditation Council, Simon Roberts, says the entity is pleased to celebrate the achievement with CARPHA.

“The accreditation certificate signifies that you’ve not only received recognition from JANAAC but (also), by extension, the signatories to the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation Mutual Recognition Arrangement (ILAC MRA),” he notes.

He explains that ILAC MRA provides “significant technical underpinning to the calibration, testing, medical testing and inspection results of the accredited conformity assessment bodies, and, in turn, delivers confidence in the acceptance of results”.   This supports the provision of local or national services such as safe food and clean drinking water, energy, and delivering healthcare and social care.

Mr. Roberts adds that the endorsement from the governing body puts Jamaica and CARPHA well on the international radar of healthcare.

“In addition, the ILAC MRA enhances the acceptance of products across national borders.   By removing the need for additional calibration, testing, medical testing and/or inspection of imports and exports, technical barriers to trade are reduced.   In this way, the ILAC MRA promotes international trade, and the free-trade goal of ‘accredited once, accepted everywhere’ can be realized.  This offers potential for the growth of the commerce industry,” he points out.

He is urging the CARPHA team to “seek to expand the scope of tests at your earliest to ensure that the other unaccredited tests will enjoy the same approval”.

Others commending CARPHA include Director of the National Public Health Laboratory (NPHL), Professor John Lindo; and Technical Officer for Accreditation, CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), Stephen Farquharson.

JANAAC was incorporated in 2007 as the National Accreditation Body of Jamaica, offering services to the country and the entire Caribbean region.

The only internationally recognized accreditation body in the English-speaking Caribbean, it is a full member of the Inter-American Accreditation Cooperation (IAAC) and ILAC.   The entity has signed multilateral arrangements with the IAAC and MRAs with the ILAC that allow for international acceptance of the results from JANAAC-accredited laboratories to the ISO/(International Electrotechnical Commission) IEC 17025 standard for testing labs, and the ISO 15189 standard for medical labs.

It supports the effective development of the Jamaican economy by providing Conformity Assessment Bodies, such as testing laboratories with internationally recognized accreditation services, thereby fostering global confidence and facilitating trade between Jamaica and its regional and international partners.

By: Peta Gay Rowe (JIS)

 

Continue Reading

Caribbean News

 Medical Council of Jamaica Announces more CME hours for Doctors

Published

on

KINGSTON, September 19, 2023 (JIS) – Medical doctors will be required to complete two additional hours of Continuing Medical Education (CME) specifically dedicated to mental health and wellness in order to renew their practising certificates come January 2024.

The Medical Council of Jamaica (MCJ) noted that this critical update forms part of its commitment to advancing the healthcare system and ensuring doctors are well-equipped to meet the prevailing mental health demands.

“This increase moves the total required CME hours from 20 to 22, enhancing doctors’ ability to address the mental health implications of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. The decision to introduce these additional CME hours is driven by the Medical Council of Jamaica’s commitment to prioritise the well-being of both patients and healthcare professionals,” the MCJ stated.

The Council reasoned that COVID-19 has highlighted the pressing need for mental health support, with healthcare workers facing unprecedented challenges, experiencing increased stress and witnessing the emotional toll the pandemic has taken on patients.

To support doctors in meeting the new CME requirement, MCJ Registrar, Professor Howard Spencer, shared that the Council will provide access to a range of accredited providers and resources offering relevant mental health and wellness courses.

“The Medical Council of Jamaica encourages all doctors to proactively engage in these additional CME hours well in advance of the renewal deadline in early 2024, to ensure a seamless continuation of their practice,” he emphasised.

The Council added that the focus on mental health and wellness will empower doctors with the knowledge and skills to provide comprehensive and compassionate care to patients experiencing challenges in this area.

Commenting on the new requirement, Consultant Psychiatrist and Public Health Specialist, Dr. Earl Wright, underscored that the additional CME hours are a win-win for doctors.

“It’s not only enhancing the doctors’ care of the patient but doctors need to take care of themselves also. This will help to prevent doctor burnout. Doctors are sometimes under severe stress for long periods of time. So enhancing the doctors’ ability to take care of themselves, they’re also enhancing their ability to take care of all their patients,” he remarked.

For more information about the new CME requirement, visit www.jamaicamedicalcouncil.org.

Continue Reading

Caribbean News

Prime Minister Holness opens Maypen to Williamsfield Leg of Southern Coastal Highway

Published

on

#Kingston, September 19, 2023 – The May Pen to Williamsfield leg of the Southern Coastal Highway Improvement Project (SCHIP) was officially opened by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, on Thursday (September 14).

The thoroughfare, which represents part A of the SCHIP, now significantly reduced travel time between the parishes of Clarendon and Manchester and will offer a multitude of economic and social benefits to users.

Speaking during the segment’s opening ceremony, Prime Minister Holness hailed the development as “a step in improving the general quality of life for all Jamaicans”.

“[It is] a step in improving the productivity of all Jamaicans. You can easily measure the productivity gained of this road by the productivity lost in traffic, discomfort and the aggression it creates in driving on some of the other bad roads,” he said.

Mr. Holness noted that some of the anticipated benefits of the new roadway include connecting workers to jobs, improving the response time of the security forces, and improving and lowering the cost for delivering agricultural outputs to market.

“In so many ways, building your infrastructure improves well-being,” he emphasised.

The Prime Minister also announced that the highway’s usage will be at no cost to motorists until the end of the calendar year, on December 31, 2023. After this period, toll rates will be applied.

Mr. Holness further pointed out that the scope of work for the highway included a new four-lane bridge across the Rio Minho to increase the area’s resilience to weather events.

The project also features a two-year defects liability phase, the Prime Minister said, while noting that, “during this phase, the contractor will have to fix any project-related defects”.

The project was funded by a loan from the Government of the People’s Republic of China, with the contractors being China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC).

It was implemented by the National Road Operating and Constructing Company Limited (NROCC), under the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation.

For his part, NROCC Managing Director, Stephen Edwards, described the highway’s opening as “a momentous occasion in infrastructure development in Jamaica”.

Dubbing the project as a “giant leap forward for the parishes of Clarendon and Manchester and for all Jamaicans”, Mr. Edwards informed that the contract’s implementation commenced in 2019.

He detailed that the development features a 23-kilometre four-lane highway with adiamond interchange and Florida-T at May Pen, a separated interchange at Toll Gate, an interchange at Melrose, four bridges, 17 concrete box crossings, upgrading of approximately five kilometres of roadway along the Melrose Bypass to a four-lane dual carriageway, a police post at Toll Gate, safety fences, concrete median barriers, and the installation and expansion of fibre optics.

“We believe… we have delivered a modern highway that the people of Jamaica can be proud of,” Mr. Edwards added.

Minister of Science, Energy, Telecommunications and Transport, Hon. Daryl Vaz, in his remarks, said the highway’s opening is “a pivotal junction in our nation’s transportation history”.

“This remarkable highway will undoubtedly reshape this side of the island and its network and elevate collective journeys towards progress. This occasion is also a testament to the dedication in providing safer roads and enhanced connectivity for all Jamaicans,” Mr. Vaz stated.

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Everald Warmington, also spoke highly of the road development.

He expressed that the new leg of the country’s highway network represents “more than just concrete, steel and asphalt”.

“It signifies development, connectivity, and the promise of a brighter future for all those who traverse the south coast of this country,” Mr. Warmington said.

He added that a well-planned, efficient transportation network is the backbone of any thriving nation, as it connects people, fosters economic growth and enhances the quality of life for citizens.

Continue Reading

Caribbean News

Multi Pronged  Approach in St. Ann to Tackle Dengue

Published

on

Montego Bay September 19 (JIS) – The St. Ann Health Department has adopted a multipronged approach in the fight against dengue fever as the parish reports an increase in suspected cases of the mosquito-borne disease.

Addressing the monthly meeting of the St Ann Municipal Corporation on September 14, Medical Officer of Health for St. Ann, Dr. Tamika Henry, said although the country is not currently in outbreak mode, the parish is on high alert due to the endemic nature of dengue in Jamaica.

She explained that the multipronged strategy includes surveillance, case management, health education, human resource reinforcement, larvicidal and adulticidal activities, source reduction, external stakeholder engagement, and continuous monitoring and evaluation.

Active and passive surveillance methods are being employed to detect suspected cases early. This involves healthcare personnel actively searching for symptoms at hospitals and health centres, ensuring prompt intervention when necessary.

“We have a nurse that is stationed at the hospital; she’s our hospital active surveillance nurse. She goes from ward to ward, as well as in the outpatient department, accident and emergency, looking to see if there’s anybody who matches the case definition for dengue because, of course, we want to pick up things very early,” Dr. Henry said.

She noted that the health department has bolstered its human resources, employing 26 permanent vector control workers across its five health districts.

To manage the situation effectively, high-risk communities have been identified and targeted for intervention by workers, including larvicidal activities aimed at mosquito breeding sites.

Dr. Henry outlined that health education and promotion efforts are widespread, involving various public health nurses, public health inspectors and community health aides.

“We have public health nurses going out. Public health inspectors are in their zonal areas on a day-to-day basis; they, too, do health education. We have our Community Health Aides, who have been doing house-to-house visits, reminding persons about searching and destroying,” she said.

Dr. Henry noted that the Ministry of Education and Youth is also engaged, with dengue lesson plans being implemented in schools.

“One of our age groups of concern is five to 14. So, we engage with them [Ministry] and they have again rolled out their dengue lesson plan in the schools, and the children are doing their search-and-destroy activity during their activity session,” she added.

Since the start of 2023, St. Ann has received 17 notifications of suspected dengue cases. One case has been confirmed that involves a 13-year-old male who presented with fever, headache, eye pain, and nausea.

Dr. Henry disclosed that nearly half of these cases, approximately 48 per cent, match the case definition for dengue, a significant increase compared to 2022.

In 2022, the parish had 10 reported cases with only one being confirmed as dengue fever.

“More males are being reported than females in 2023, and we recognise that there are two particular age groups of concern – 5 to 14 age group, that is our primary school going up to our high school, as well as our 24 to 44 age group,” Dr. Henry shared.

Continue Reading

FIND US ON FACEBOOK

TRENDING