I have been concerned for some time now about the absence of information coming from the Ministry of Health & Wellness (MOHW) about Long Covid in Jamaica. The topic has rarely come up at MOHW Covid Conversation press conferences, which is disappointing given that Jamaicans are experiencing Long Covid and I think it is really important that people are made aware of the possible effects of this condition. Individuals, parents and families, school communities and workplaces are in need of information to guide responses to dealing with Long Covid.
April 29, 2022
I wanted to know what information the MOHW had on Long Covid and so on April 29, 2022, I submitted the following Access to Information to Ministry:
May 2, 2022
The MOHW responded promptly on May 2, 2022, acknowledging receipt of my requests, but there was a little bit of a hiccup because the email went to my spam file. They were very helpful when I made contact some days later to confirm that my request had been received. (It was one of three I had made on the same day.)
May 31, 2022
On May 31, 2022, I emailed again asking for an update:
June 7, 2022
On June 7, 2022, I received a letter dated June 3, 2022, via email, giving an update on the status of my request and asking for a 30-day extension in time to complete the response to my request:
So no information about Long Covid from the MOHW so far. Sometimes, however, explanations about why you haven’t received the requested information provide information in and of themselves.
I now know, for example, that our National Surveillance Unit has not been routinely collecting data on Long Covid. This means that Jamaica is very much in the dark about the extent of the public health challenge that we face in dealing with this post-viral condition. How do we prepare for it if we don’t know the extent of what we are facing so far?
This is not good enough. People are facing this challenge in their lives already, whether as individuals, as friends and family, as those responsible for schools and workplaces, as colleagues.
I wait to see what other information I may receive.