#VaccinesWork: Measles, Mumps, Rubella Shot From Jamaica

There was a time when life expectancy in Jamaica was 38 years old, and only 10 to 20 per cent of every 1,000 babies delivered by live births survived. That was in the 1800s, when disease and infections were rampant. The introduction of immunisation into the island has drastically improved life expectancy and quality.

The World Health Organization came into force on April 7, 1948. By the 1960s, they implemented a worldwide campaign which resulted in the eradication of smallpox. They then turned their attention to diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, measles, poliomyelitis and tuberculosis under the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI). This programme was established in Jamaica in September 1977 and because of it, many young Jamaicans have been spared the horror of early death and/or a disease-riddled childhood.

One of the most outstanding aspects of that campaign was the drive against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), which took place in Jamaica primarily in the late 1900s. An AP story published in The Gleaner of February 22, 1972 heralded the development of the triple-purpose combination vaccine to fight all three diseases, noting that it would greatly curtail the incidence of the diseases in children, especially in remote countries.

By October 1979, another Gleaner article spoke of a one-day vaccination campaign held by the Paediatric Association of Jamaica in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, on Saturday, October 27, 1979 as part of its observance of International Year of the Child. Parents and guardians were invited to bring children to the Bustamante Hospital for Children for the administering of free vaccination against MMR.

Ongoing campaigns to increase awareness of MMR, and to encourage parents and guardians to get their children vaccinated, continued until immunisation became mandatory by legislation passed in Jamaica. According to Jamaica’s Immunisation Regulation (1986), immunization means: “the process of developing in a persons antibodies for protection against diphtheria, pertussis, poliomyelitis, tetanus, tuberculosis, measles, or any other disease prescribed by the minister, by the administering of any immunising agent approved for the purpose by the medical officer (health) and includes vaccinations and innoculations.” Under this regulation, drafted under the Public Health Act of 1974, all children in Jamaica are required to be adequately vaccinated by their first birthday.

According to the Jamaica Information Service, this has resulted in an exemplary track record: “The last case of polio was identified in 1982; the last case of locally transmitted measles in 1991; diphtheria in 1995; rubella (German Measles) in 2000 and the last case of newborn tetanus in 2001. [Jamaica also won] the 2011 Henry C. Smith Immunization Award for the making the most improvements to its existing programme during that year.”

Sources:
The WHO Expanded Programme on Immunization
JIS Immunisation Programme Protects All
The Gleaner Newspaper Archives

Find out more:
diGJamaica’s Record of Jamaica’s Immunization Milestones

Posted in Health, History, Jamaica, Observances, Science, Wellness Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

6 Things You Need To Know Today

Your news in a nutshell

  1. Rain batters Portland
  2. Clarendon shattered
  3. ‘Shotta’ students
  4. World’s largest real estate franchise now in Ja
  5. MoBay Chambers presidential race hot
  6. St Thomas residents trapped

1. Rain batters Portland

The livelihood of at least three Portland farmers has been crippled following four days of heavy rainfall, which devastated dozens of hectares of fully grown banana, livestock, and other forms of quick crops. The unfavourable weather conditions, which have been affecting the parish since Wednesday, also resulted in multiple land slippages in the eastern end of the parish, compounded by inundated roadways and flooded houses. See full story on The Gleaner’s website.

2. Clarendon shattered

Members of the opposition who toured sections of Clarendon yesterday are expressing concern about the extent of the damage done to the parish by flood waters from rains over the weekend. Opposition Leader, Dr Peter Phillips, says based on what he has seen, a lot of the damage is largely due to poor maintenance and lack of drain cleaning in most areas. See full story on The Gleaner’s website.

3. ‘Shotta’ students

Gangs are menacing neighbourhoods all across Jamaica. Some gangs have targeted high schools to recruit the next generation of killers. This was revealed to a Fourth Floor panel, assembled to look at violence and its effects on society, particularly the threat to mental health. See full story on The Gleaner’s website.

4. World’s largest real estate franchise now in Ja

The world’s largest real-estate franchise, Keller Williams, has awarded a permit to St Ann-based Meldam Realty to operate to operate offices in Jamaica under the American-based company’s name. See full story on The Gleaner’s website.

5. MoBay Chambers presidential race hot

The upcoming elections for the presidency of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI) is poised to be a contentious affair as battle lines have been drawn between the supporters of incumbent president Gloria Henry and her challenger, T’shura Gibbs. See full story on The Gleaner’s website.

6. St Thomas residents trapped

Some residents in St Thomas are still trapped as a result of the heavy rains. The roadway leading in and out of Golden Grove remains impassable due to flooding; while other roads in communities in eastern St Thomas, such as Font Hill, Johnson Mountain, Rowlands Field, Winter Forest and Cedar Valley remain impassable. See full story on The Gleaner’s website.

Posted in 6 Things You Need To Know Today, Hot Topics, Jamaica, Lists, News Tagged with: , , , , ,

Why Jamaica Love Lorna Goodison Long Time …

From as early as 1982, The Gleaner presents records that bear witness to the ongoing love affair between Lorna Goodison and her native homeland. Goodison’s poems have paid homage to, offered criticism of and often craftily described and deconstructed the beauties and distresses of her Jamaican world. Her poems tend to give insight into a way of life that defies definition, and will only yield to the most thoughtful, meticulous descriptions. Below, you will find one of the first newspaper articles, published in The Sunday Gleaner of October 3, 1982, critiquing Lorna’s first poetry collection Tamarind Season.

The article starts by saying that “A poet’s first collection is always something special”, saying Goodison’s first work provides “an interesting mixture of colour/class consciousness, moving experience and personal philosophy”. The reviewer surmises that Goodison is “an extremely interesting” poet, noting that her “very frequent narrative emphasis on the past is even more significant as she is so young a poet”.

Turn Thanks

Fast forward to 1999, and Goodison is no longer a young poet. By this time, she has become a lecturer in poetry at the University of Michigan, and another esteemed Jamaican poet, Professor Edward Baugh describes her as “a most highly internationally acclaimed poet who was once again blowing through like a breath of fresh air. Her imagination opens up and goes round wonderful corners”. He makes this statement at the official launch of another collection of poems by Lorna Goodison, titled Turn Thanks (Gleaner article, Monday, July 26, 1999).

Between Tamarind Season and Turn Thanks, Goodison has published five other poetry collections, the most acclaimed of which is I Am Becoming My Mother – a hauntingly beautiful repository of poetic magic that captured the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. On why she decided to call her seventh poetry collection Turn Thanks, Goodison tells her audience: “One of the tenets by which I live is gratitude, because the opposite, envy, is a corrosive thing.” Wise words from a well-loved wordsmith.

Source: Gleaner Newspaper Archives

Posted in #diGBooks, Authors, Books, General Information, History, Jamaica, Literature, Personalities, Uncategorized, Women, Writing Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

6 Things You Need To Know Today

Your news in a nutshell

  1. Tesha Miller released from police custody without charge
  2. Man gets 4 life sentences for quadruple murder
  3. Riu MoBay boiler room explodes, ordered closed
  4. Possible dry period for Ja by year-end
  5. Speed, alcohol may have caused Mason’s death
  6. We take diaspora seriously – Johnson Smith

1. Tesha Miller released from police custody without charge

Reputed gangster Tesha Miller has been released from police custody without charge. His attorney Bert Samuels said Miller was met by relatives on his release. Earlier today, Kingston and St Andrew Parish Judge Vaughn Smith ruled that Miller must be charged by 6 o’clock this afternoon or released from police custody. See full story on The Gleaner’s website.

2. Man gets 4 life sentences for quadruple murder

The Clarendon man convicted of the gruesome 2015 quadruple murder of four people, including three students, has been sentenced to four terms of life imprisonment and will have to serve 60 years before he becomes eligible for parole. Twenty-nine-year-old Jermaine Turner was sentenced in the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston today. See full story on The Gleaner’s website.

3. Riu MoBay boiler room explodes, ordered closed

The Jamaica Fire Brigade has now ordered the closure of the RIU Hotel in Montego Bay, St James following a major explosion in the boiler room yesterday. One person was killed and three others injured in the explosion. Yesterday, Public Relations Officer at the Jamaica Fire Brigade, Emeleo Ebanks said the hotel would remain open since further threat had been averted. See full story on The Gleaner’s website.

4. Possible dry period for Ja by year-end

Preliminary weather-tracking models are not indicating any serious concern for drought at the end of June, however, climate service specialist Glenroy Brown, has said that temperatures are likely to be warmer than normal closer to the end of the year. See full story on The Gleaner’s website.

5. Speed, alcohol may have caused Mason’s death

The Harbour View Police have said speeding and alcohol might have contributed to the early morning motorcycle crash along the Palisadoes main road in which Jamaica-born high jumper, Germaine Mason was killed. Mason, 34, clad in a black T-shirt and blue jeans pants, had just left the ‘I Love Soca’  party on the Kingston waterfront. See full story on The Gleaner’s website.

6. ‘We take diaspora seriously’ – Johnson Smith

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Kamina Johnson Smith, has dismissed claims by her opposition counterpart that the Government is paying lip service to Diaspora related issues. Addressing journalists at a press conference yesterday at the ministry on Dominica Drive in New Kingston, Johnson Smith said that Diaspora engagement was a significant part of the Government’s domestic and foreign policy, adding that “this is not lip service”. See full story on The Gleaner’s website.

Posted in 6 Things You Need To Know Today, Hot Topics, Jamaica, Lists, News Tagged with: , , , , ,

Renay Foster’s Faith Comes Full Circle

Early Days

Renay Foster has lived a very full life. A daughter of Jamaican soil, she has spent time in the United States and the United Kingdom, coming full circle to reside in her homeland. Raised in a Christian family with parents who are pastors, she grew up surrounded by siblings who were all strong in the Christian faith. She has five siblings: one brother and four sisters, and is the third child by both parents – their first child in wedlock. She notes that when her father died in 2010, all his children were Christians, except for her.

Raised in St Catherine, Renay says, “We had very humble beginnings.” She says both her parents were very poor, and came to the more corporate parishes in the island seeking a better way of life. Looking back at where her parents have come from, she surmises: “They have done well and I am very proud of them.”

Her father was a minister and a warehouse manager, while her mother stayed at home to attend to the children. After attending the Ensom City Primary & Junior High School, Renay matriculated to Wolmers High School for Girls, which she credits for molding her into the person she is today.

“Wolmers made me into the woman I am today,” she says with pride. “The friendships I found there are still very grounded. … We’re strong. We’re there for each other.” After Wolmers, Renay worked at Sandals for a while, before winning a scholarship to study at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV).

Faith Comes Full Circle

Renay’s separation from the Christian faith took place shortly after her parents separated from each other. At 16, she found it very difficult to deal with the reality of her parents’ broken marriage. She was, at the time, very close to her father. After the separation, she says she got very rebellious and started going to parties and having older men-friends.

“My virginity was intact up to my father being at home,” she recounts. When her father left, Renay says she started looking for the love she should have received from a father in other men. “He [her father] was the first man to break my heart,” she says. “I got married at 23 and divorced at 27. I was in and out of relationships. I took a lot of abuse – not physical abuse, but, you know there are other forms.”

All of this, she believes, has worked together for her good. And in 2012, Renay was rebaptised, coming full circle and returning to the faith her parents had taught her as a child. “I never focused on academic certificates,” she says. “The one that mattered to me was the one I got when I was baptised.”

Renay took her faith beyond conversion and is now a certified minister of religion, as well as a chaplain and ambassador to the United Nations. She is now championing the cause of ministering to women who have been abused and seek love in the wrong places, convinced that her story is a message of healing for broken women.

“There are many women just like me who don’t understand why they’re going through what they’re going through,” Renay explains, adding that her story can offer them hope, insight and encouragement.

No Need to Google God

From her experience has come a book titled ‘No Need To Google God’, a compilation of short stories of how she experienced God over 2012 to 2016 in the United Kingdom, America and Jamaica. She says the book is not religious, but still biblically sound.

“It captures how I saw God in each place,” Renay explains. “The purpose of this book is to deconstruct the myth that you have to be at a perfect place to meet God. I believe God is very simple. He loves everybody. That’s why we don’t judge anybody. I can love or minister to anybody. When I scan through my life, I can see parts of everybody in my life.” She does this through motivational speaking in schools, churches and companies and has her eyes set on ministering in correctional institutions as well.

She does not define herself as the typical minister. “I believe you should come as you are,” she stresses. “Over time, the Holy Spirit dresses you and convicts you. Leave people for God to speak to them. My book provokes you to see God in everything you do. … Wherever you go, there’s a message. God might be many things, but God is not so far … he’s here.”

Her book can be purchased at York Pharmacy and Bryans Bookstore in Kingston, Jamaica, and online at www.amazon.com.

Posted in #diGBooks, Authors, Books, Jamaica, Literature, Personalities, Women, Writing Tagged with: , , , , ,

6 Things You Need To Know Today

Your news in a nutshell

  1. Ja-born high jumper dies in bike crash
  2. Streetlight audit coming
  3. $300m bailout for university students
  4. World’s oldest son with living parent dies
  5. Fast-track diaspora policy – Opposition
  6. Formula for sustained economic growth

1. Ja-born high jumper dies in bike crash

Retired Jamaica-born high jumper Germaine Mason has died in an early morning motorcycle crash along the Palisadoes main road in Kingston. Mason was heading to Kingston when he lost control of the motor bike, crashed, and died on the spot. See full story on The Gleaner’s website.

2. Streetlight audit coming

Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie says local government ministry will be working with the municipalities to carry out a comprehensive night audit of all streetlights. In his contribution to the Sectoral Debate in Gordon House yesterday, Mr. McKenzie said this will help the ministry to get a true picture of the total number of streetlights across the country. See full story on The Gleaner’s website.

3. $300m bailout for university students

The Government’s decision to allocate $300 million to ease the burden on financially challenged students enrolled at the University of the West Indies, the University of Technology, and the Caribbean Maritime Institute has been welcomed by the opposition People’s National Party (PNP), as well as the outgoing president of the UWI Guild of Students. See full story on The Gleaner’s website.

4. World’s oldest son with living parent dies

A glorious chapter in longevity came to a quiet end yesterday when 97-year-old Harland Fairweather, who was listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s oldest man with a living parent, died peacefully at his home in Duanvale, Trelawny. See full story on The Gleaner’s website.

5. Fast-track Diaspora policy – Opposition

Opposition spokesman on foreign affairs and foreign trade Dr Morais Guy says that the Andrew Holness administration is paying lip service to the Diaspora as it drags its feet on a policy relating to that critical group. Reiterating his call for the Government to table the country’s Diaspora policy, Guy says that despite raising questions about this key document for more than a year, the administration has failed to bring the policy to Parliament. See full story on The Gleaner’s website.

6. Formula for sustained economic growth

Anthony Hylton, a former Cabinet minister in the previous People’s National Party (PNP) administration, spelt out what he believes to be the formula for economic growth in Jamaica during his Sectoral Debate presentation, where he raised concerns about the pace of business environment reforms. See full story on The Gleaner’s website.

Posted in 6 Things You Need To Know Today, Hot Topics, Jamaica, Lists, News Tagged with: , , , , ,

6 Things You Need To Know Today

Your news in a nutshell

  1. Judge mocks $100 maximum fine
  2. Bunting questions $400m contract
  3. Charges pending against Romanian in ATM fraud case
  4. ‘Eat What You Grow’ saving Ja $5b annually
  5. Gayle first to 10,000 in T20
  6. Scarce Commodity launches standards

1. Judge mocks $100 maximum fine

A parish judge yesterday mocked the $100 maximum fine the law allowed her to impose on reputed gang leader Tesha Miller after he pleaded guilty to making a false declaration to Jamaican immigration officials. Some lawmakers, too, have expressed shock that such a maximum penalty remains on the books, saying it’s a “shame”, and the “sleeping” Parliament has to do something quickly. See full story on The Gleaner’s website.

2. Bunting questions $400m contract

Raising questions about ‘fit and proper’ criteria for receiving contracts from the Government, Opposition Spokesman on National Security Peter Bunting yesterday queried whether someone who had been convicted for narcotics and related offences and deported from the United States would be in a position to be awarded a more-than-$400-million contract from the Ministry of National Security. See full story on The Gleaner’s website.

3. Charges pending against Romanian in ATM fraud case

The police say charges are pending against a Romanian man who was held in connection with an ATM fraud scheme in Half-Way Tree, St Andrew yesterday. Head of the Counter Terrorism Branch of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, Assistant Commissioner Clifford Chambers, told The Gleaner that the man was held at an ATM at the Pavilion Mall. See full story on The Gleaner’s website.

4. Eat What You Grow’ saving Ja $5b annually

Senator Norman Grant, president of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), said the ‘Eat What You Grow’ campaign has been shaving approximately US$40 million (J$5,134,123,600) from the nation’s food import bill since its inception in 2003. Grant made the announcement while addressing the 36th annual staging of the Montpelier Agricultural Show in St James on Easter Monday. See full story on The Gleaner’s website.

5. Gayle first to 10,000 in T20s

West Indies superstar Chris Gayle became the first batsman to score 10,000 in Twenty20s, when he belted a typically bellicose half-century to fire Royal Challengers Bangalore to a 21-run win over Dwayne Smith’s Gujarat Lions in the Indian Premier League. See full story on The Gleaner’s website.

6. Scarce Commodity launches

Scarce Commodity will launch its third party Quality Assurance and Quality Control certification programme for the cultivation, inputs, post-harvesting, manufacturing, labelling, packaging, distribution and dispensing of cannabis, necessary to legitimise the Caribbean Cannabis Economy (CCE). See full story on The Gleaner’s website.

Posted in 6 Things You Need To Know Today, Hot Topics, Jamaica, Lists, News Tagged with: , , , , ,

Who is George Quallo?

George Fitzroy Quallo, Jamaica’s 29th Commissioner of Police whose appointment took effect on Tuesday, April 18, 2017.

George Fitzroy Quallo is Jamaica’s 29th Commissioner of Police, with responsibility for “enhancing the security services to the country, improving public order, reducing corruption and improving accountability across the force”, as well as “implementing a comprehensive succession planning process for the Directorate of Constabulary”.

His appointment to the post of police commissioner took effect on April 18, 2017. He replaced Dr Carl Williams, Jamaica’s 28th commissioner, who stepped down from the post in January 2017 on early retirement after 28 months on the job. In the interim between Quallo’s appointment and Williams’ retirement, ACP Novelette Grant acted as commissioner of police. Some thought that she was going to be appointed Jamaica’s first female police commissioner.

A career policeman who enlisted in the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) in November 1976, Quallo has been in the force for more than 40 years. Since January 2016, he has served as the Deputy Commissioner of Police with responsibility for the Territorial Operations Portfolio. He was appointed Assistant Commissioner of Police in December 2010 and Deputy Commissioner in November 2015.

He led various divisions in the Jamaica Constabulary Force, including Area 4, between March 2012 and December 2015 during which there were three successive years of reduction in murders and major crimes. In 2009, he led the rebuilding of the JCF armoury, implementing rigorous internal controls and strengthening accountability for firearms within the force.

Between 2002 and 2006, he restructured the Manchester Police Division, utilising community policing principles as the major policing strategy, resulting in a large reduction in all crime categories. He received widespread endorsement for his appointment from National Security Minister Robert Montague and former Commissioner of Police Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin.

Sources: The Gleaner Newspaper Archives and Jamaica Information Service

Posted in General Information, Jamaica, Men, News, Personalities Tagged with: , , , , ,

What’s Right With Jamaica? The Blue Mountains

How thankful are Jamaicans for Jamaica? It’s a wonderful country teeming with enthusiasm, brilliance, talent and heritage as lush as our verdant landscapes. There is much in this little island to be grateful for, and here at diGJamaica, we don’t need a holiday or observance to celebrate Jamaica … we believe in celebrating the uniqueness of this country all year round. Follow our What’s Right With Jamaica series to see our weekly highlight of something refreshingly special in the island. You can also suggest topics for the series by sending emails to digjamaica@gmail.com.

The Blue Mountain Peak is 7,402 feet or 2,256 metres above sea level, and is the highest point in Jamaica. Apart from the breathtaking views, the Blue Mountains boasts some of the most unique flora and fauna in the island, the Caribbean, and the world.

The Easter lily blooms a lovely purplish blue flower during the Easter time (March/April). This field of Easter lilies is a sight for sore eyes on the hike up the Blue Mountains.

Ferns are a staple on the Blue Mountains. They are every shade of green imaginable!

Dense rainforests are a prominent feature of much of the Blue Mountain trail.


See previous What’s Right With Jamaica post:

Posted in #OnlyInJamaica, About Jamaica, General Information, Jamaica, Lifestyle, Photos, Series, Travel and Tourism, What's Right With Jamaica Tagged with: , , ,

6 Things You Need To Know Today

Your news in a nutshell

  1. Jamaica dominates CARIFTA
  2. Romanian scammers target Ja
  3. JUTC buses vandalised to debt
  4. Gloria’s co-owner dies in crash
  5. Ganja group ready to sprint
  6. Manhunt on for Facebook killer

1. Jamaica dominates Carifta

ONE year later and it is the same story, as Jamaica’s junior athletes proved once again that they are the best among their Caribbean counterparts. They dominated the 46th staging of the Carifta Games which came to an end yesterday in Willemstad, Curaccao. Jamaica picked up 14 gold, eight silver and seven bronze to total 29 medals on the final day. This meant they ended with 84 overall – 38 gold, 27 silver and 19 bronze. See full story on the Gleaner’s website.

2. Romanian scammers target Ja

The police are again appealing to the public to take precautionary measures when using ATMs in light of Jamaica becoming an apparent target by Romanian scammers. Head of the Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime branch, Assistant Commissioner of Police, ACP Clifford Chambers says two Romanians believed to be connected to an international ATM fraud ring were denied entry to the island last Wednesday. See full story on the Gleaner’s website.

3. JUTC buses vandalised to debt

The ailing Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) is shelling out millions of dollars each year to repair buses damaged by passengers, mainly schoolchildren, who deliberately break the windows and windshields, as well as deface the seats and other sections of the interior of the vehicles with oftentimes lewd and vulgar graffiti. See full story on the Gleaner’s website.

4. Gloria’s co-owner dies in crash

Persons who had plans to close off the Easter holiday with a seafood feast at the Port Royal-based restaurant, Gloria’s, would have turned up to closed doors yesterday.The popular restaurant did not open for business on what would have been one of the busiest nights of the holiday as family and staff were plunged into mourning following the tragic death of one of its owners in an early Easter Monday morning crash. See full story on the Gleaner’s website.

5. Ganja group ready to sprint

Come Thursday, the Ganja Future Growers and Producers Association will mark International Cannabis Day with a makeover. The entity will be rebranded as the Ganja Growers and Producers Association Jamaica to reflect the recent developments in the sector. See full story on the Gleaner’s website.

6. Manhunt on for Facebook killer

Authorities in several states were on the lookout yesterday for a man police say shot a Cleveland retiree collecting aluminum cans and then posted video of the apparently random killing on Facebook. See full story on the Gleaner’s website.

Posted in 6 Things You Need To Know Today, Hot Topics, Jamaica, Lists, News Tagged with: , , , , ,