The Staff Welfare Programme of the Ministry of Health and Wellness got a boost earlier today with the award of a million dollars in gas cards for public sector workers engaged in the National COVID-19 Response efforts.
The award was made by Total Jamaica during a brief ceremony attended by State Minister in the Ministry of Health & Wellness, the Hon. Juliet Cuthbert Flynn; Permanent Secretary, Mr. Dunstan Bryan; other Ministry representatives; and executive of the retailer of petroleum products and related services, Mr. Robert Holdsworth.
“It is a pandemic and we do believe that our civic duty is required. We all live in the same space, share the same space … It is our duty as corporate citizens to lend a hand where we can. This was our gesture and it will go a far way we know,” said Holdsworth, who is the Director of Health, Safety, Environment, and Quality at Total Jamaica.
The gift of the gas cards was welcomed by the Ministry team.
“We are grateful for the partnership and generosity of Total Jamaica, in our efforts to support team members as they navigate the COVID-19 pandemic in service to the people of Jamaica,” noted the permanent secretary.
Minister of Health & Wellness Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton announced the Staff Welfare Programme in Parliament in September. Among the components of the programme are Human Resource Management; Staff Engagement and Communication; Rest and Relaxation; COVID Support; and Wellness.
Each component of the programme is supported through strong collaboration with the private sector for the implementation of activities in year one. The total cost of implementation is projected at some J$37 million in this financial year with an additional J$37 million to be requested for the next financial year.
The programme has its genesis in the need to address staff burnout as a major impediment to the COVID-19 fight. As such, it is designed to ensure, among other things:
Mandatory rest days for staff who would have worked excessive hours;
Mandatory 48-hour results for staff members who have done COVID-19 tests;
Preferential rates in hotels and other facilities to support all staff within the system; and
Family support and counselling for those most impacted by the disease.
There are also provisions for increased engagement and support to management within the health regions and parishes to better help staff within the facilities and offices.
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