Editorial

Nice move, Mr Kevin O'Brien Chang

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

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Jamaica may yet salute Mr Kevin O'Brien Chang who, although being an enthusiastic public commentator, is proving he is not just all talk.Mr O'Brien Chang has committed his Fontana Pharmacy chain to what is a really nice and astute idea which will no doubt redound to the benefit of this country, through a programme he is calling 'Best for Mommy and Baby', in partnership with Dr Christopher Tufton's health ministry.

Piloted at Mandeville Regional Hospital, the Best for Mommy and Baby initiative supplies each new mother with a gift basket and a user-friendly booklet with antenatal and post-natal care information. The plan is to move it to other parts of the island after its inaugural stage in Mandeville, the Manchester capital.

The idea, Mr O'Brien Chang, the Fontana managing director says, is grounded in the view that a better Jamaica starts with healthier Jamaican babies. That fact has been well documented by health planners across the globe and is as applicable to Jamaica as anywhere else.

It is noteworthy that the programme very conveniently fits under the Ministry of Health's 'Good Health Begins at Home' project which underlines how important it is for families to take responsibility for their health, something which is sadly lacking in Jamaica.

The value of the project was underscored at last month's launch by Dr Tufton who is turning out to be a very smart health minister. He emphasised then the risky behaviour of many pregnant women who visit health centres very irregularly, often waiting until something bad happens or the pregnancy is in trouble.

According to Mr Tufton, in 2015, forty-one per cent of expectant mothers visited public health facilities during the first trimester (first 12 weeks) of pregnancy, compared with 43 per cent a year later. Also, in 2015, only 50 per cent visited during the second trimester (second three-month period) of pregnancy.

Fontana hopes to distribute 15,000 baskets and 50,000 educational booklets in the first 12 months of the project. The booklets and posters will eventually be available at all antenatal clinics and hospitals in Jamaica. They are 'downloadable' for free at fontanapharmacy.com.

The gift products include diapers, maternity pads, baby soap bars, bath wash, baby shampoo and moisturiser, but Fontana is seeking to work with other companies to expand the project and ensure its viability. In the short term, it is proposed to take it to hospitals in the vicinity of Fontana locations in Mandeville, Kingston, Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, and Savanna-la-Mar.

We are sure that expansion would allow it to go to all hospitals eventually and continue well into the future. In that regard it is easy to commend it to well-thinking companies seeking useful projects to support, especially those whose business relates to the products included in the basket. Kudos to Cari-Med, Kirk Distributors, and T Geddes Grant who are already on board.

We join with Mr O'Brien Chang in his view that the Best for Mommy and Baby initiative, through happier mothers and healthier babies, will contribute greatly to building a better, healthier and more productive Jamaica.

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