Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton engages an interview with the Hilltop Trumpet shortly after hosting a COVID-19 Digital Conversation at the Northern Caribbean University’s Main Campus on September 30, 2020.
Photo Credit: Raheed Bailey
By: Katrich Walker
Mandeville, Jamaica – Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton says the Ministry will be launching a mental health response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic which will include vulnerable groups such as the elderly.
He made the announcement during a Digital COVID-19 Conversation for the elderly on the Northern Caribbean University’s (NCU) main campus on September 30, 2020. The conversation was held as the country observes Senior Citizens Week.
“We’re launching in short order a mental health response to COVID that captures the entire being. The entire state of mind, the physical health included and that will target the senior citizens as one of those vulnerable groups,” shared Dr Tufton.
The minister urged family members of the elderly to visit the seniors even when they have to wear masks and stay six feet away from them, as seniors have a tendency to require company and may feel lonely at times.
The conversation which connected some persons via zoom was held with community leaders in Manchester, the parish’s Chamber of Commerce, the Custos of Manchester, Garfield Green and other critical stakeholders in order to solicit their support, and getting them involved with the Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA).
Dr Tufton also revealed that the Ministry also has plans to expand the conversations across the island due to the phase that the virus is currently in.
“We’ve decided to take the COVID conversations to other parts of the country and to combine that with work on the ground, because of the phase of the virus’ community transmission phase, which from our perspective requires significant community engagement.”
Minister Tufton and his team also traversed in the heart of Mandeville, prior to the briefing, distributing masks and hand sanitizers as well as speaking to taxi drivers about the importance of the masks.
The Health Minister said he’s pleased with the protocols taken by the Business Processing Outsourcing Company, Sutherland Global which is based just outside of the town with 1200 employees, six of whom are working from home.
Also present at the Digital Conversation was Regional Technical Director of SRHA, Dr Vitillicus Holder and Expert on Public Health & Aging, Professor Denise Eldemire-Shearer.