Spotlight Initiative boosts national capacity to track violence-related injuries

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The government’s capacity to track injuries arising from incidences of violence against women and girls has been bolstered with the provision of equipment, technical support and training valuing 5.2 Million JMD to the Jamaica Injury Surveillance System (JISS).   

The equipment, including six computers, four wireless routers and two UPS, was officially handed over on Monday (23 August) by Spotlight Initiative Jamaica, a joint intervention of the European Union and United Nations Jamaica, to the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

The donation will be assigned to the Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments of Princess Margaret and Lionel Town hospitals, which will bring the current number of JISS sites in A&E departments to 11 across the four regional health authorities.

The JISS tracks violence-related injuries, accident and unintentional injuries, suicide attempts and road traffic crash injuries.

Ava Whyte Anderson, UNDP Programmes Specialist A.I., in representing The UNDP Resident Representative Denise E Antonio, disclosed that Spotlight Initiative will make additional donations of computers to the Port Antonio hospital by September, effectively expanding the JISS to 12 sites nationwide.

She said the equipment will bolster national capacity to collect, analyze and apply strategic plans to incidences of violence against women and girls, and will be supplemented by training for staff at the target hospitals to support effective collection and management of the data.

Ms Whyte-Anderson said the support from Spotlight Initiative is packaged to address the significant institutional capacity challenges related to data production and analysis of intentional injuries. “The expanded JISS, combined with police data and community-based surveys, can now generate risk profiles for different types of injuries from 11 high traffic locations. In so doing, it is a valuable asset in tracking and monitoring family violence including violence against women and intimate partner violence (IPV),’ she noted.

“Importantly, the data can be harnessed to design responsive monitoring and prevention programmes, as well as support and evaluate policy, legislative and intervention control measures,” she further observed.

In accepting the donation on behalf of the Government, Kadian Birch, Director, Programme Coordination, Planning and Strategic Initiatives (Actg.) representing the Permanent Secretary Dunstan E Bryan said the Ministry of Health is pleased to receive the technical support to enhance operations of injury surveillance. “This underscores the importance of partnership in public health and the successes that can be derived,” she stated.

Ms Birch outlined that the information from the JISS highlights the impact of violence-related injuries on communities, identifies the circumstances of road traffic crash injuries helps with the calculation of the cost of treatment of these injuries. She further disclosed that the data is analysed for use by the Ministry of Health and Wellness in planning of hospital operations, injury prevention programmes including public education initiatives, mental health interventions and the management of persons who have been subjected to violence.

The Spotlight Initiative is a global, multi-year partnership between the European Union and the United Nations to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls. Launched with a seed funding commitment of €500 million from the European Union, the initiative represents an unprecedented global effort to invest in gender equality and women’s empowerment as a precondition and driver for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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