Healthcare Workers Honoured by NERHA – Jamaica Information Service – Government of Jamaica, Jamaica Information Service

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Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness (seated) looks on as Managing Director of Stewart’s Automotive Group, Duncan Stewart, points out the different features inside the Build Your Dreams (BYD) electric vehicle which was on display at the launch of the Government Electric Vehicle Trial Programme, at the Jaguar/Land Rover Showroom on Arthur Wint Drive in Kingston on July 8.
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Healthcare workers were honoured by the Northeast Regional Health Authority (NERHA) on Friday (July 8), for their outstanding service in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
The workers were honoured during the Health Care Workers’ Appreciation Month regional launch, which doubled as an award ceremony, and was held at Jewel Paradise Cove in Runaway Bay, St. Ann.
Workers based in the parishes of St. Ann, St. Mary, and Portland, were lauded for their sacrifices and dedication during the ongoing pandemic.
In her remarks, Minister of State in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Hon. Juliet Cuthbert- Flynn, stated that the healthcare workers of Jamaica have done an outstanding job in the fight against COVID-19.
“I think of our country, our small island, and how we were managing, and what our health care teams were doing, especially the contact tracing, many countries did not get it right, but I think Jamaica did, I think we did a tremendous job … would [have] been a dishonour if we did not take the time out to say thank to our health care workers,” she stated.
She added that over the last two years of the pandemic, the nation witnessed an extraordinary show of “commitment, service, and sacrifice as healthcare professionals in all categories rose above their own personal troubles and shouldered the nation through its time of vulnerability”.
“We know what selflessness is, because it has and continues to shine through our healthcare workers,” Mrs Cuthbert- Flynn stated.
The State Minister noted that it is with this in mind, that the Government’s 10-year strategic plan for the health sector prioritises human capital development.
“You are our greatest assets in public health, we know that no achievement or transformation of the health sector can be complete without you. To this end, the Ministry of Health and Wellness has embarked on an expansive plan to build a more resilient health infrastructure. Through significant investment under the Health System Strengthening Programme, Jamaicans will see extensive rehabilitative work and digitization across the health system,” she outlined.
She noted that the works will impact facilities in the northeast region such as the St. Ann’s Bay Regional Hospital, the St. Ann’s Bay Health Centre, and the Brown’s Town Health Centre.
“The upgrading and building out of these health centres are to enhance your working environment and [to ensure that] you are better equipped to carry out your functions and also meet the needs of the patients,” she said.
Mrs. Cuthbert- Flynn also extended her sympathies to “the colleagues, friends [and] loved ones of healthcare workers who are no longer with us because of COVID-19. Neither words nor acts [stop] the pain that you are feeling. We mourn with you and extend words of comfort to the families and will continue to do so”.
Meanwhile, Regional Director at NERHA, Fabia Lamm, in her remarks, stated that the commemoration of July as Healthcare Workers’ Appreciation Month “is indeed a significant recognition of the work and worth of our [over] 2700 healthcare heroes who have worked tirelessly to serve diligently over the years and more significantly over the last two years in managing the COVID-19 global pandemic”.
She noted that as of June 2022, the region has had a total of 17,212 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 631 deaths.
Ms. Lamm added that between March 10, 2021, and June 30, 2022, some 184,181 COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the northeast region with 98,796 in St. Ann, 52,733 in St. Mary and 32,652 in Portland.
Among the activities to be staged across the island during Healthcare Workers’ Appreciation Month are more award ceremonies for staff members, sport, entertainment and beach events, and other activities.
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Initial Officer Training Programme (IOTP) provides basic military officer training to Officer Cadets (OCdts) and their equivalents from law enforcement and uniformed services. The programme falls within the tactical level of the Professional Military Education (PME) framework of armed forces and is modelled from the Royal Military Academy Sandhursts’ (RMAS) Commissioning Course.  It was designed with the direct support and guidance of RMAS Instructing and Support Staff.
Traditionally, the Jamaica Defence Force’s (JDF) longstanding partnerships with militaries across the world has seen its OCdts being trained in academies in the following countries: United States, England, Canada, China and India. Upon the return of OCdts to the JDF, there is a requirement for doctrine and operating procedure standardization due to the varying concepts and differing contents of the training they had undergone. This is normally done at the Unit level and later, through a Young Officers’ Course. The advent of COVID-19 added a new level of complexity to travel, thus negatively affecting the process of sending OCdts overseas. Additionally, the ongoing expansion and restructuring of the Force to cauterize the ballooning threats to national security has caused an increased demand for newly commissioned Second Lieutenants.
Due to the carefully adapted military and academic curricula, IOTP serves as the course to treat with the aforementioned considerations. The methodology used addresses each issue directly and the course, through the delivery of a bespoke training syllabus, is fit for the JDF and is also relevant to the militaries and organizations within the Caribbean region and in other parts of the world.
Having the RMAS approach to training at its core, IOTP is designed with a syllabus that sees male and female integration throughout training. The course focusses on developing military skills and command with a leadership ‘golden thread’. The course structure allows the Instructing Staff to educate, build, develop and scrutinize an OCdt’s ability to decide and communicate accurately and ethically while under pressure and or stress. The expectation is that on commissioning, an OCdt will be fully cognizant of the responsibilities and personal conditions that being an Officer imposes upon them. The product of the IOTP will be an ethical and robust Officer who has the knowledge, skills, attitudes and intellectual agility to adapt their decision-making process and approach to any environment.
The home of IOTP is the Caribbean Military Academy (CMA) Newcastle, which is located at the Newcastle Hill Station, St Andrew, Jamaica.
Nestled in the cool hills of upper St Andrew and amidst beautiful trees, ferns, ground orchids, delicate wild flowers and a profusion of ginger lilies, is the Newcastle
Training Depot founded in 1841 by Major General Sir William Maynard Gomm (later Field Marshall). Gomm, a veteran of the wars against revolutionary France and Lieutenant Governor of Jamaica from 1840 to 1841, relentlessly badgered the War Office in London to establish a mountain station for British soldiers in Jamaica soon after taking up his post.
The idea of the hill station was first raised by Gomm in a letter dated April 7, 1840 to Governor Sir Charles Metcalfe. Gomm pointed out that while Up Park Camp was an ideal location for a barracks, it was subject to the ravages of yellow fever. In Jamaica the
British garrison was stationed on the plain at Up Park Camp, Stony Hill, Fort Augusta and Port Royal. Here, on the average, 1 soldier died every 2½ days. According to Russell, the year 1838 was considered a ‘good’ year: only 91 men died. In 1839, 110 men perished and in the following year 121. Initially, the British government was conservative in approving a hill station for the troops in Jamaica. They were concerned about the expense of the venture.
In May 1841, London finally sanctioned Gomm’s efforts to build what is thought to be the first permanent mountain station in the British West Indies at Newcastle. The site selected was a coffee plantation protruding from the southern face of the grand ridge of the Blue Mountains. The British government paid £4,230 for the Newcastle site.
At the outbreak of World War II (1939-1945), life at Newcastle changed a little. The British regiment was replaced by Canadian regiments which remained at Newcastle for the duration of the war. With hostilities over in 1945, the Canadians left and once again a British battalion was stationed there.
In 1958, the West Indies Federation was founded and the infantry regiments of the various Caribbean islands were disbanded and reorganized into the West India Regiment. Newcastle became a training depot, training recruits from all over the West Indies as part of the
newly formed West Indies Federation. In 1962 when Federation was disbanded, the West India Regiment was also disbanded. Jamaica simultaneously sought her independence, which was achieved on August 6, 1962. With independence, Newcastle was given to the Jamaican government as part of a general settlement of all military lands in Jamaica.
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