Sun | Dec 5, 2021

Research on Ja’s COVID-19 experience can bolster health sector resilience – Tufton

Published:Thursday | November 18, 2021 | 9:27 AM
Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton, addressing attendees at the virtual opening of the 12th Annual National Health Research Conference on Wednesday, November 17, 2021 - Contributed photo.

Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton says comprehensive research on Jamaica's coronavirus (COVID-19) experience can help in devising strategies to bolster the public health sector's resilience.

“I would support any research that is properly put together that seeks to look at public health and project [the extent of its resilience] in the years to come, coming out of the COVID experience,” Tufton said.

The health minister, who was speaking at the virtual opening of the 12th Annual National Health Research Conference on Wednesday, said that a critical component of this research is the application of technology.

“One of the things that COVID has taught us is that technology does and can make things a lot more efficient,” he said.

Tufton said he would want to see researchers explore areas like telemedicine and self-monitoring through the use of applications (apps).

The results of this research, he said, could determine “how we help our society to lead better lives but also to control illness, to control their health profile based on the technology and to treat them quicker”.

The health minister noted that the Government is now working to boost the technology capacity of the health sector and highlighted, for instance, the recently announced multibillion-dollar programme, which will equip hospitals and health centres with a health information system that will allow patient records to be digitised, thereby summarising patient history, and facilitating earlier decision-making.

In the meantime, Tufton said he is proud of the effectiveness of the country's primary healthcare system, particularly during the pandemic.

“Our primary healthcare system really gave us an advantage in the COVID response…[It] has been one of our strongest features [particularly in terms of] things like contact tracing and quarantining,” he said.

Tufton informed that Chief Medical Officer, Dr Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie, is currently working on measures to bolster the primary healthcare process “and we look forward to that”.

Tufton also had high praise for the primary healthcare nurses and community health aides, who, he noted, are working diligently in the communities.

“I always see the (nurses and community health aides) walking through and going to people's homes… collecting data and writing up, at great risk to themselves and their families. We must celebrate them, and we must find ways to enhance their impact on the community,” he said.

The research conference, which closes on Friday, November 19, is being held under the theme 'COVID-19 Year in Review: A Multidimensional Perspective'.

The conference will feature high-quality abstracts on COVID-19, Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), Health Economics, Gender-Based Violence and Public Health Advances.

- JIS News 

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