BACK TO BASICS: Ruel Reid calls for return of community health aides
The Sam Sharpe Teachers' College Diagnostic and Early Intervention Centre in Montego Bay
To ensure that pregnant mothers are provided with proper nutrition to guarantee that their babies are born healthy, Education Minister, Senator Ruel Reid, is advocating for the full-scale reinstatement of community health aides (CHAs) across the island.
CHAs are tasked with, among other things, tending to the sick and aged within their respective communities, and with conducting follow-up visits for persons who have gone through primary and secondary healthcare facilities, and educating citizens about healthy lifestyles.
"We building basic schools, but we have to start in the belly. We have to support those mothers who themselves need good nutrition. I spoke to the minister of labour and social security. We have to go back to that tradition where we used to have the community health aides. We have to make sure that once you are pregnant, you get certain additional services," Reid advocated.
He made reference to Cuba providing the basic nutrition for every pregnant woman.
"What Cuba has done well, (is that) every parent gets good support from the state, they make sure they get the basic nutrition that is required, so on average their children are born healthy," Reid added.
Speaking at the official opening of the Sam Sharpe Teachers' College Diagnostic and Early Intervention Centre in Montego Bay on Tuesday, he also advocated for Jamaicans to again wholeheartedly embrace the tradition of God parenting.
Godparent is a person who presents a child at baptism and promises to take responsibility for their religious education.
"Montego Bay and St James and the west must become another centre of love and care that every... I'm not giving permission to people to have children that they cannot take care of..., but I am saying every pregnant woman becomes a responsibility, and even first time when people used to have the thing called godparents, I want to see that come back now, that we track every child that is born and we make sure they are developing appropriately," Senator Reid stated.