#KINGSTON, April 22 (JIS): The Government is documenting information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) in order to better understand the virus, improve the management and treatment of the infection, while boosting the resilience of the country’s public health system.
Speaking in a recent interview with JIS News, Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, said work is under way to ensure that the country and the health system learn from the pandemic.
“We have an Epidemiology Unit headed by Dr. [Karen] Webster Kerr and we are documenting all that is happening… because we need to learn from this experience and we need to use this experience to make the public health system more resilient. It is something that we need to do and it is something that I am pushing for,” he said.
Dr. Tufton noted that the Health Ministry is collaborating with the University of the West Indies (UWI) to document responses being generated through a call centre being manned by medical students.
The Government has instituted several measures to minimise the spread of COVID-19 in Jamaica, including the closure of all business process outsourcing (BPO) facilities for 14 days starting Wednesday (April 22); the mandatory wearing of masks in public, an islandwide curfew from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. daily; closure of the country’s airports and seaports to incoming travellers, a stay-at-home order for persons 70 years and older, having non-essential employees work from home, limiting public gatherings to not more than 10 persons, the closure of schools, among others.
The Ministry of Health and Wellness recommends that persons practise proper hygiene by frequently washing hands with soap and running water or using a sanitiser, and observe social distancing by staying three to six feet away from others when in public.
The social distancing rule is particularly important in preventing persons from coming into contact with droplets from the cough or sneeze of others who are sick.
JIS NEWS BY CHRIS PATTERSON
Patricia Scotland narrowly wins to hold onto Commonwealth Secretary-General over Jamaica’s Johnson-Smith
By Deandrea Hamilton
#Rwanda, June 25, 2022 – Narrowly edging out her contender, Rt Hon Patricia Scotland managed to hold onto the post of Secretary General of the Commonwealth; the vote was had on Friday, at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2022 in Kigali Rwanda. It is there leaders made their decision to support the Dominican-born Scotland in the completion of the balance of her period in office.
In a bold move, which by some CARICOM country members was frowned upon, Minister of Foreign Affairs to Jamaica, Hon Kamina Johnson-Smith, announced that she would bid for the job of Secretary-General. It caused a split and drew criticism. Nonetheless, the Jamaican campaigned and for her effort secured 24 votes including backing from Belize, the Maldives, Trinidad & Tobago, the UK, India, Singapore and Australia to name some.
However, it would not be enough as the current Secretary-General drew 27 votes to retain the role.
The vote was only necessary due to the challenge by Johnson-Smith, who was supported by Andrew Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica.
Speaking after her reappointment Secretary-General The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC said: “It is deeply humbling to have been reappointed as Secretary-General of this great Commonwealth. To continue to serve our family of nations is a true honour and a privilege and I will do so to the best of my ability. We will face the world’s challenge with unity and purpose.
“To seek high office is a profound act of service and I want to commend my colleagues who also sought to serve. The Commonwealth is richer for the breadth and depth of talented leaders who dedicate themselves to our family of nations.”
Kamina Johnson-Smith tweeted on the loss, gave congratulations and surmised that ‘if she did not win, it meant God was not yet ready for her to leave Jamaica.’
The Secretary-General first took office in 2016 with her initial term extended due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Having already served six years she will now serve for a further two years to complete the balance of her period in office, said a statement from The Commonwealth.
Worst time to be a Woman; a Haitian crises
By Deandrea Hamilton
#TurksandCaicos, June 24, 2022 – I know many of us are frustrated by the reports of illegal vessels breaching our waters, landing on our shores, costing us in repatriation expenses and overwhelming our small states and we’re not wrong to be bent out of shape by it. However there are many facets to this maddening issue to sound alarms and from what I’m told and because of what I have noticed, the number of women increasingly taking the risk to runaway confirms the heartbreaking truth that abuses of this vulnerable group are escalating in frequency and violence.
Turks and Caicos Police ‘stop & search’ operations are capturing many women; women who are trying to get to a job site in the many illegal jitneys moving around the town.
Sure it is all illegal, however it remains gut wrenching that these skittish ladies would have started the day on the hustle for a little cash only to be caught, with no document affirming legal status breaking the law. They will be deported and life will change, likely for the worse.
Haiti’s instability is driving the exodus of Haitian people. The plummeting quality of life is pushing the “irregular migrants” as they are labelled to board boats, take to the ocean in pitch black conditions, driven by a desperate home.
Some make it, some do not.
The only death recorded or reported at the TCI detention center in years was this month; it was a Haitian woman. We don’t know what went wrong. But a journey toward a better life ended with the loss of hers.
I come from a set of nations – The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands – which have ensured I have a place. Whether that’s school or college or a job or as an entrepreneur, room was made for me and laws are in place to enable and empower me. Not only do I have bread to eat, but I get to choose the type of bread I want to eat and can share it.
I am blessed. Truly.
But for my Haitian sisters, when you see their faces and the sadness in their eyes. When the human spirit is so shattered that it creeps into the dankest of places which is utter hopelessness, we should sit up and stand up. This should capture our attentions.
In fact we should know, that for the hundreds we do encounter, there are countless more out there, unseen and trying to survive without being fortified by a force field of love, rule of law and simple decency. There are too many more relentlessly buffeted by exploitation and circumstances outside of their control.
Whether it is the recent memorial held to remember 11 Haitian women who perished at sea in early May trying to get in, undetected to Puerto Rico or a new and emerging report on describing the sexual abuse of Haitian women working at a factory; given sickening ultimatums: Sex for their salary; an exploitation which usually draws throngs of people to vociferous protests in more developed countries; to this news however, there is silence and little reaction that we can see.
I declare that these women are significant. They are valued despite the trials and tribulations of their homeland. Within this dispensation, a post Black Lives Matter world, the darker complexion of many of their skins no longer means they are disposable.
And united, it means, women wherever we are can link hearts and hands to partake in and contribute to a shared stance of solidarity. We can do it for the voiceless anywhere we want, we are women and though muted by the many dramas and truamas unfolding in our own lives, communities and countries, we still hear these voices crying and screaming out and we will help.
Just watch and see. Women of Haiti, help is on the way.
Macmillan Education Caribbean hosts panel discussion with the women of STEM
June 23, 2022 – Macmillan Education Caribbean has been holding its Summer of Science for the last two weeks, focusing on “Discovering Scientists” across the Caribbean. Now, it announces its second exciting event in the wider campaign.
In a panel discussion hosted by Macmillan Education Caribbean, three women in the STEM industry will be invited to discuss their experiences in the field, offer advice for young women aspiring to have a career in science, and more. The panel, called Opening up science: Meet the Women in STEM will be hosted online, at 1:00pm AST on Tuesday 28th June.
The event features three fantastic panellists: Dr Claire Durant, Niva Miles, and Dr Joanne Simmons-Boyce. Between them, they have amassed a wealth of experience at various different touchpoints of the STEM field; from authoring science textbooks and serving on examinations councils, to teaching science and practising natural products chemistry.
With Dr Claire Durant and Dr Joanne Simmons-Boyce being Barbadian scientists, and Niva Miles having authored Human and Social Biology for CSECⓇ Examinations, each of the panellists will bring a unique view on science in the Caribbean to the conversation, which will be especially useful to those watching.
The event is open to all, although young women and female educators are especially encouraged to attend. In a blog she wrote for Macmillan Education Caribbean on the importance of championing women in science, Dr Claire Durant said:
“To establish an inclusive scientist workforce, women and girls need to see themselves reflected in their teachers in the classroom as well as in the scientists who develop the technology, medicine, beauty, engineering and entertainment products that we use every day.”
Macmillan Education Caribbean is strongly encouraging schools to get involved in creative ways, by hosting ‘watch parties’ for the panel discussion inside classrooms, or by getting students and teachers to submit questions for the panellists.
In the fortnight surrounding the panel event, Macmillan Education Caribbean’s channels will be exploring Science for Life, and will be introducing the panellists in more detail, whilst also exploring the accessibility of science and spotlighting the title Human and Social Biology for CSECⓇ Examinations, which this panel was inspired by.
The Human and Social Biology for CSECⓇ Examinations title is centred around “opening up” science, making it both accessible and engaging for learners of varying abilities. In this visually engaging series, a range of different routes to learning are explored – from animated videos to aid understanding, and project guidance for undertaking the independent School-based Assessment.
You can follow the Summer of Science across Macmillan Education Caribbean’s social media channels, visit their website for more information, or follow the hashtag #ScienceForLife to get involved with the next phase of the campaign.
Teachers and students can register for the discussion at https://macmillanic.clickmeeting.com/opening-up-science-meet-the-women-in-stem/register.
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