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Westmoreland adds more health aides in COVID-19 battle

Published:Wednesday | October 14, 2020 | 12:06 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer

Western Bureau:

Dr Marcia Graham, the medical officer of health for Westmoreland, says 62 community health aides have been added to the Westmoreland Public Health Services to boost the parish’s capacity to track and trace persons exposed to the coronavirus.

“The community health aides are the foot soldiers who are familiar with the community, knowing the clients, those who have vulnerabilities and disabilities, and so they are a very important arm of the public health response to COVID-19 in the community,” Graham told The Gleaner.

According to Graham, the 62 community health aides recently graduated from an eight-week intensive training programme, which included surveillance work in communities across the parish, and which forms part of the Ministry of Health and Wellness drive to build capacity to respond to the virus.

Graham said the community health aides have been selected from various communities from across Westmoreland and will be offering care from the nearest health centres, as well as making visits to homes.

“This will therefore improve the ability of the team on the ground to do the contact tracing and to check up on persons who might have to stay at home, based on their age and their vulnerability, to ensure their optimal health,” Graham said.She also noted that 12 of the community health aides have also received training in operating the emergency operation centre.

“Twelve of them are also exposed to the workings of the emergency operation centre, so it means that these peoples are equipped to monitor the person for in-home quarantine and to help us to generate the reports and other deliverables that we need to do as part of the COVID-19 clinical management,” added Graham.