Coronavirus
JM | Dec 10, 2020

Jamaica owes frontline workers a great debt of gratitude, says health official

/ Our Today

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President of the Jamaica Public Health Inspectors (JAPHI) Karen Brown (first right) with the top three awardees at a recent function recognising the outstanding work being carried out in Jamaica’s COVID-19 response by public health inspectors at the Moon Palace Jamaica Grande in Ocho Rios, St. Ann. From leftL Second place finisher Lunce Dowdie-Campbell; third place awardee Malvia Williams; and first place and COVID-19 Gold Star winner Charmaine Ramsay. (Photo: Contributed)

By Fernando Davis

President of the Jamaica Association of Public Health Inspectors (JAPHI) Karen Brown says the nation owes a great debt of gratitude to frontline health workers in the continued fight against the coronavirus.

 Brown, in a recent interview, said that while there have been many “heroes and warriors” who have served admirably and have gone beyond the call of duty in Jamaica’s response to the dreaded pandemic, public health inspectors are among those who have carried the torch in an effort to safeguard the health and safety of the nation.

She said it was to this end that her organisation recently acknowledged a number of public health inspectors for their outstanding work –both at the parish and national level –during a function at the Moon Palace Jamaica Grande Hotel, Ocho Rios, St. Ann.

“It was our belief that we have to recognise and acknowledge those who continue to put their lives on the line in defence of the Jamaican people,” Brown noted.

“The function where we awarded those who have stood out with cash prizes, plaques, trophies and certificates was done to recognise their work, to empower and motivate members while they carry out their duties in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and other environmental health duties.”

Public Health Inspector parish awardees seen here sharing lens time during a recent function recognising the outstanding work being carried out in Jamaica’s COVID-19 response by public health inspectors at the Moon Palace Jamaica Grande in Ocho Rios, St. Ann. (Photo: Contributed)

 Brown added that the awards were given during the recent ‘Public Health Inspectors Week’ which was observed under the theme: ‘Environmental Health: Forefront in Addressing the Challenges of the COVID-19 Pandemic’.

She said the public health inspectors were recognised for their exceptional impact on the COVID-19 interventions; at work and in communities, with strong consideration for humanitarianism, innovation in problem- solving and going above and beyond the call of duty for the cause.  

“Public health inspectors on a whole have served the country well throughout the years in implementing the environmental health programmes,”  Brown added.

“They have been working assiduously in the forefront of the COVID-19 fight for most of 2020. Three inspectors from each parish were selected and awarded. Ten parishes participated in the selections/nominations. They received plaques and certificates of recognition.”

The top three awardees share a moment during a recent function recognising the outstanding work being carried out in Jamaica’s COVID-19 response by public health inspectors at the Moon Palace Jamaica Grande in Ocho Rios, St. Ann. From left: Second place finisher Lunce Dowdie-Campbell; third place awardee Malvia Williams; and first place and COVID-19 Gold Star winner Charmaine Ramsay. (Photo: Contributed)

Brown noted that the Clarendon Health Department’s Charmaine Ramsay, who has been a health inspector since 1998, and who has been very instrumental in leading the charge and working as part of the health team in her parish – and in their health emergency operation in dealing with the epidemic – walked away as the COVID-19 Gold Star winner.

For her efforts, Ramsay also received a cash prize of $80,000 in addition to a trophy plus day and dinner passes courtesy of Moon Palace.

“She carried out interventions in COVID-19 affected communities in the parish and supported persons infected and affected by the disease. She worked in the quarantined communities to reduce the risk of disease transmission. Among the communities were the quarantined Cornpiece Settlement, Sandy Bay and its environs,” Brown added. 

Ramsay carried out case investigations, home and institution assessments, enforcing compliance with the Disaster Risk Management Act as well as other duties. Her intuitive compassion led to needy persons in quarantined communities being supplied with food, potable water and given psychosocial support.

St. Ann’s Lunce Dowdie-Campbell finished in second place and was awarded the COVID-19 Silver Star as well as cash prize of $50,000 while St. Thomas Health Services’ Malvia Williams got the COVID-19 Bronze Star and cash prize of $30,000.

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