THE Social Development Commission (SDC) says it remains a tower of strength for the vulnerable and underprivileged amidst the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Jamaica.
In March, the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, as well as SDC offices across the country, activated the RONA Helpline Senior Care Response initiative, designed to aid senior citizens over the age of 70 years old with specific support once they are in critical need.
SDC parish manager for St James, Randy Hayle said this includes access to medical care, food and sanitation supplies.
He explained that this critical State service will primarily benefit those elderly persons who do not have the requisite support system at home.
“The RONA helpline is a communication line that addresses some vulnerabilit[ies] of the elderly in communities; for example to fill their prescriptions or maybe to go to the supermarket to get some grocery items, or to fulfil some other purpose. So, if you do not have any family support, you’re going to call the RONA helpline,” he said.
Some 16 contact points have been established for those seeking assistance to call in. The local government ministry is one point of contact, while the other 15 locations are SDC parish offices.
Hayle indicated that SDC personnel will screen calls and mobilise responses to the homes of the elderly, in order to provide the specific support requested.
“So, if you don’t have any support and you have a prescription you want to be filled, you call the line. We will come and pick up the prescription and [sometimes] provide the funding to take care of the prescription and take back the medication to you,” he said.
Hayle said that in St James there have been a few call-ins and persons are being screened to determine the validity of their requests.
Persons can contact their respective SDC parish office and Ministry of Local Government’s RONA helpline for assistance.
In the meantime, Hayle said the agency continues to assist the Government’s effort in sensitising and bringing awareness about the risks of COVID-19, and how persons can protect themselves.
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