The Ministry of Health and Wellness is in discussions with the private sector to ensure that the most appropriate protocols for the return to work arrangement can be put in place.
Portfolio Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, said organisations such as the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) and the trade unions are involved in the discussions.
“As the public health authority, we are not anti-business and appreciate the need for a viable and sustainable economic activity to underpin the well-being of the whole of society.
“At the same time, however, as this experience with COVID has shown us and the world, economics without a healthy population are unsustainable. As such, the new normal must recognise that everyone counts, not just as individuals, societies or countries but as an integrated whole that supports the health and well-being of all,” he said.
Dr. Tufton was delivering a statement in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (May 19).
Come June 1, employees who have been working from home since March as part of measures to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19) will be allowed to return to work.
Meanwhile, Dr. Tufton said that the Ministry’s work in the public health system is now in high gear, as the intention is to ensure that all four health regions are equipped with an additional 16 intensive care unit (ICU) and high-dependency unit (HDU) facilities to respond to extreme healthcare needs.
He informed that, to date, the capacity of the health system has been increased with 41 ICU beds, 32 new ventilators, and 140 monitors.
“We have expanded the cadre of critical care clinicians through our partnership with the Cuban Government, with the addition of over 200 healthcare professionals,” he noted.
“We have restocked our complement of personal protective equipment (PPEs) and we have strengthened significantly our ability to manage and support patients with infectious illnesses, with the addition of COVID wards, inclusion of infection prevention and control training, and revised protocols in hospital and health facilities,” he added.
The Health and Wellness Minister told the House that the primary healthcare system will benefit from the deployment of the Pan American Health Organization/ World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) “go data” system that will not only enhance the Ministry’s capacity to capture information but also strengthen disease surveillance.