JIS: Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, has highlighted the importance of access to proper nutrition and medical care for expectant mothers in ensuring the healthy development of children.
He informed that officials from the Ministries of Education, and Labour and Social Security have been engaged in dialogue aimed at providing nutritional support for pregnant women.
“We have to support those mothers, who themselves need good nutrition. We have to ensure that once you get pregnant you have to get certain medicinal services,” he said. He was speaking at the opening of the Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College Diagnostic and Early Intervention Centre in Granville, St. James, on October 23.
Minister Reid cited Cuba as a good example of a country that has made the link between the need to give support to pregnant mothers, so as to increase the chances of having healthy babies.
“Cuba has done that very well. There, every parent gets good support from the State… to ensure that they get good nutritional support, so that, on average, children are born healthy,” he pointed out.
Senator Reid hailed the opening of the diagnostic and early-intervention centre, noting that it will provide early detection and treatment for children with special needs.
Mr. Reid cited a 2004 report, which showed that as high as 24 per cent of Jamaican children had serious intellectual and cognitive deficiencies.
“There is also a study that shows that one in every 42 of our boys is autistic… and one in every 167 of our girls is autistic… between mild and severe,” he noted.
The Minister further hailed the country’s special needs teachers, noting that “the nation owes them a debt of gratitude”.
“People who go into the teaching profession… all the great teachers we have in this country… they don’t go into it for the money,” Senator Reid pointed out.
“They go in it for the love. We know it takes cash to care, and we will continue to do everything to ensure our teachers are among the best paid professionals in this country,” he added.
Ground was broken on April 5, 2017 for the construction of the Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College Diagnostic and Early Intervention Centre through partnership with the Ministry’s Programme for the Advancement of Childhood Education (PACE) and Food For the Poor, Jamaica.
The centre, through the Ministry, will identify children with learning challenges and employ the best intervention strategies for each child.
CAPTION: Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, speaking at the opening of the Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College Diagnostic and Early Intervention Centre in Granville, St. James, on October 23.