Environmental Health is the branch of public health that is concerned with all aspects of the natural and built environment which may affect human health, focusing mainly on the prevention, mitigation and control of the risks.

Environmental Health News Highlights

Health, Environment Quiz a Success in St Mary

St. Mary Health Department's acting port health and quarantine officer, Roxanne Valentine-Donegan (left), with students from Free Hill Primary and Infant School and their coach, Rayon Grandison (right), at the annual health and environment quiz.

Students from Free Hill Primary and Infant School in St Mary were celebrating after winning the local health department's annual health and environment quiz competition on June 8, 2017.

Karen Brown Wins Public Health Award- The Sir Kenneth Standard Award for Excellence in Community Health Services

Karen Brown Regional Environmental Health Officer-NERHA

Regional Environmental Health Officer for the North East Regional Health Authority (NERHA) Karen Brown has walked away with the inaugural National Award for Excellence in Public Health (on November 11, 2016. The prestigious award was given jointly by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Faculty of Medical Sciences (FMS) at the University of the West Indies, in honour of the public health pioneer, Professor Sir Kenneth Standard-dubbed 'a public health hero'.

Wayne Watkis Public Health Inspector of the year-2016

Wayne Watkis: 2016 Public Health Inspector of the Year

Acting Veterinary Public Health Inspector for the St Ann Health Department Wayne Watkis is the 2016 Public Health Inspector of the Year. He received the award on October 25 2016 during the 70th annual educational conference of the Jamaica Association of Public Health Inspectors, (JAPHI) at the Grand Palladium Jamaica and Lady Hamilton Resort and Spa in Hanover.



Improve the dental health of the population; through access to dental care services and prevention and control of oral and craniofacial diseases, conditions, and injuries


The health of the teeth, the mouth, and the surrounding craniofacial (skull and face) structures is important to a person's overall health and well-being.

Why Is Oral Health Important?

Oral health is essential to overall health. Good oral health improves a person's ability to speak, smile, smell, taste, touch, chew, swallow, and make facial expressions to show feelings and emotions.

However, oral diseases can range from cavities to oral cancer, cause significant pain and disability for many Jamaicans.

Oral diseases and conditions include:

  • Tooth decay- cavities
  • Gum diseases
  • Cleft lip and palate
  • Mouth and facial pain
  • Mouth and throat cancers
  • Dry mouth

Services Offered

Preventive Oral Health Programme (School & Community Based Programmes)

  • Dental Sealants
  • Fluoride Varnish
  • Oral Health Education and Promotion
  • Dental Cleaning
  • National DMFT surveys

Integrated Oral Disease Prevention

  • Oral Cancer screening
  • Oral Diagnostic Services
  • Periodontal Services

Schedule of Services

St. Ann


  • Exchange Health Centre
  • Ocho Rios Health Centre
  • St. Ann's Bay Health Centre
  • Claremont Health Centre
  • Alexandria Community Hospital (presently closed for refurbishing)
  • Bamboo Health Centre (once weekly service by the Dental Nurse on Mondays).


  • Monday - Friday


  • 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

St. Mary


  • Annotto Bay Health Centre
  • Highgate Health Centre
  • Port Maria Dental Clinic
  • Gayle Health Centre (presently closed for refurbishing)
  • Islington Health Centre (closed).


  • Monday - Friday


  • 8:30 am - 4:30 pm



  • Katus Blakey Dental Clinic
  • Fair Prospect Health Centre (presently closed for refurbishing)
  • Port Antonio Health Centre
  • Port Antonio School Clinic
  • Buff Bay Community Hospital


  • Monday - Friday


  • 8:30 am - 4:30 pm


Health Education and Promotion is a priority programme area at NERHA with its cross-cutting strategic elements that underpin the success of all other programmes in the region.

This profession requires intensive specialized training encompassing the biological, environmental, psychological, social, physical and medical sciences.

In NERHA, a special focus is placed on integrating health promotion/education strategies in the following programmes as follows:

  • School Health -Jamaica Moves in Schools (JMIS)
  • Chronic-non-Communicable Diseases
  • Communicable Diseases
  • Nutrition
  • Physical Activity
  • Environmental Health

ja moves

Jamaica Moves is one of the strategies used by the Ministry of Health & Wellness to address the increase in number of persons who are getting Non-communicable Diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes (sugar) and some cancers. This strategy is employed in Schools, workplaces and community and puts emphasis on the promotion of physical activity, proper nutrition and age appropriate and routine health checks. The Heath Education and Promotion Officers spearheaded the execution of the implementation of theses interventions.


The Community Mental Health Programme is designed for the promotion of mental health, the prevention of mental illness, and the treatment and rehabilitation of persons living with mental illnesses.

It is designed to assist in meeting the mental health needs of clients and their families in their own communities or as close to the community as possible.

Mental health services in the North East Region are provided by a specialist team in conjunction with other health workers (professional and support) in governmental and non-governmental facilities.

moh Campaign

In Community

  • Home visits-for delinquent patients, monitoring compliance with medication and other prescribed therapies.
  • Mobile Team Activities-Teams visit and treat patients at home and on the streets
  • Health Promotion/Education-to groups(church school, social groups, Health Fairs, Health groups
  • Rehabilitation Services.(eg Brown's Town HC- games ,craft)
  • Forensic Services
  • In Outpatient Department Clinics, health centres and lock-ups at police stations
  • Services include: assessment, treatment, providing report/recommendation to Resident Magistrates' Courts on 'fitness to plea' and other medico-legal issues.

Hospitals Service Offerings

Adult Outpatient Services

Regular Mental Health Clinics are conducted in all 4 hospitals (weekly clinics); during these clinic sessions new patients as well as those with appointments for follow-up care are seen.

A special clinic is conducted in hospitals to review patients following discharge from hospital

Adult Inpatient Services

Patients with psychiatric disorders are admitted to medical wards (male &female) in all hospitals. Consultancy referral service to patients admitted to general surgical, paediatric and maternity wards.

Hospital Schedule

St. Ann


  • St Ann's Bay Regional Hospital
  • Days : Every Monday (Genera Mental Health Clinic)
  • Days : Every Tuesday (Ward-Review Clinic)
  • Alexandria Community Hospital
  • Days : 2nd,3rd& 4thWednesdays

St. Mary


  • Port Maria General Hospital
  • Days : Every Tuesday (Ward-Review Clinic)
  • Days : Every Wednesday ( Psycho-therapy clinic)
  • Annotto Bay General Hospital
  • Days : Every Wednesday



  • Port Antonio General Hospital
  • Days : Every Monday (General Mental Health)
  • Check schedule with Clinic (Psychotherapy clinic)

Services are offered at 35 sites:

4 General Hospitals ( 1 in St Ann, 2 in St Mary, 1 in Portland)

  • 1Community Hospital (Alexandria-St Ann)
  • 3 Infirmaries (1 in each parish)
  • 2 Community Residential Facility for people with special needs: (Jacob's Ladder in St Ann is operated by the Catholic church) and the Portland Rehabilitation Centre.
  • 25 Health Centres

Health Centres Service Offerings

Five (5) Adult Psycho Therapy Clinics have been established and are functioning in the following areas:

St. Ann

  • St Ann's Bay Health Centre
  • Moneague Health Centre

St. Mary

  • The Port Maria Health Complex


  • Port Antonio General Hospital
  • The Buff Bay Health Centre

Community mental health clinics are held on a weekly basis in centres which serve large population areas and on a two or four weekly basis in other areas with smaller populations.

Access to service:

  • Self referrals
  • Walk-in from street
  • Referrals from: police, courts, private doctors, other health centres, schools, children services, church, other sources.

Adult Clinic Schedule

St. Ann

Facility (Health Centre):

  • Brown's Town - Every Thursday, 4th Tuesdays
  • Bamboo - 2nd &4th Wednesdays
  • Ocho Rios - 1st, 2nd & 4th Thursdays
  • Watt Town - 2nd Tuesdays
  • Madras - 2nd Tuesdays
  • Claremont - 2nd Wednesdays
  • Stepney - 1st Thursdays
  • Clarksonville - 3rd Thursdays
  • Moneague - 2nd &4th Fridays (General Mental Health Clinic) & 2nd Tuesdays (Psychotherapy Clinic)
  • St Ann's Bay - 1st, 3rd & 4th Tuesdays(General Mental Health Clinic)

Facility (Community Residential):

  • Infirmary - 2nd & 4th Tuesdays
  • Jacob's Ladder - 2nd Tuesdays

St. Mary

Facility(Health Centre):

  • Retreat - 4th Fridays
  • Gayle - 2nd Thursdays
  • Oracabessa - 3rd Mondays
  • Highgate - 3rd & 4th Thursdays
  • Islington - 4th Wednesdays
  • Caron Hall - 2nd Mondays

Facility(Community Residential):

  • Infirmary - 2nd & 4th Tuesdays


Facilities (Health Centre):

  • Buff Bay - 4th Fridays
  • Mount Pleasant - 1st Tuesdays
  • Fair Prospect - 1st Wednesdays
  • Manchioneal - 1st Thursdays
  • Fruitful Vale - 3rd Thursdays
  • Fairy Hill - 1st Tuesdays
  • Bangor Ridge - 4th Thursdays
  • Cascade - Check schedule with Health Centre

Facility (Community Residential)

  • Infirmary - 3rd Thursdays
  • Portland Rehabilitation Facility - Check schedule with Facility

Child and Adolescent Clinic Schedule

St. Ann


  • Steer Town Health Centre
  • Days : Every Day
  • Alexandria Community Hospital
  • Days : 2nd, 3rd & 4th Wednesdays

St. Mary


  • Port Maria General Hospital
  • Days : Mondays & Tuesdays
  • Annotto Bay General Hospital
  • Days : Every Wednesday



  • Port Antonio General Hospital
  • Days : Tuesdays & Thursdays
  • Buff Bay Health Centre
  • Days: 2nd & 4th Wednesdays
  • Manchioneal Health Centre
  • Days: Check schedule with Health Centre

(CAMHS) are provided in the three (3) parishes within the region. Services cater to emotional-psychological and behavioral needs of children/adolescents aged 4-18 years.

Conditions include: Depression, Psychosis, Conduct Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, Child Abuse and Developmental Disorders.

Services include:

  • Individual/family counseling,
  • Psychological assessment/testing
  • Psycho-education sessions with the affected youngsters, their parents/care-givers and teachers.

Services are delivered via home/ social enquiries, clinics, educational conferences and seminars.

Psychological Intervention (Counselling)

Psychological intervention refers to the non-pharmacological (not including medications) approach to help clients and families develop social, emotional and intellectual skills

  1. Psychotherapy helps clients to learn how factors such as their: mood, thoughts, behavior influence their lives. It also teaches to re-structure your thought process, response to stress and other challenges.
  2. Psycho-education teaches clients about the nature of their Illness, their treatment and encourages them to compliance with medication and any other instructions which are given to them.
  3. Social skill training includes educating or re-educating clients on subjects such as etiquette, budgeting, communication, courtesy skills, conflict resolution and meal planning.
  4. Grooming, Assessment, Feeding and Treatment Programme (GAFT-P)
  5. Mentally ill persons are assisted to meet their needs at home.
  6. Those who live on the street have these needs met at periodic intervals when they are transported to select treatment centres.
  7. GAFT services are provided by a team of mental health workers, members of a faith-based organization, the Community Outreach Arm of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and staff from a private ambulance service. The latter is provided on a voluntary basis
  8. Patients also treated on streets GAF-T services are provided in all three parishes.
  9. Assistance with cleaning of houses and yard space of clients,
  10. The Mental Health Team also assists in conducting minor repairs to houses on special work days selected by the mental health team in each parish.
  11. Partnership with governmental and non-governmental Organizations (NGO) regarding provision of food, clothing, shoes, furniture and building material for needy clients,
  12. Care giver support groups assist clients to share success stories, positive ideas, friendship and gain support to deal with feelings of frustration and other challenges.
  13. Referrals-Clients referred to other agencies with a view to assist client to receive services which they are more competent to provide.
  14. In Emergency Visits/Crisis calls -24 hours in all parishes

Mental Health Review Board

This board is established and is functional. Its functions include: receiving and investigating complaints from patients, relatives or next friends of patients on any matter connected with their care or treatment in a psychiatric facility within the health regon.

Tips to Maintain Good Mental Health

  • Talk about your feelings- preferably to a trusted family member, friend or someone trained/experience in counseling and or mediation
  • Practice your faith- don't allow anyone to pressure you
  • Ask for help- do not feel too proud to do this
  • Take a vacation- everyone needs time off to re-charge
  • Keep active- take walks, jog, other forms of exercise (don't overdo it; seek medical advice especially regarding strenuous activities)
  • Perform work that you are capable of doing- one's mood can be lifted as a result of doing something productive
  • Keep in touch - family and friend are good points of contact
  • Eat healthy- try to eat from all the food groups and include water
  • Accept yourself- you are who you are
  • Help others- this can result in you feeling worthwhile

Tips to Grow Emotionally Smart Children

  • Teach Them to Know And Understand Feelings
  • Teach them to name feelings e.g.:
  • Afraid, Sad, Excited, Confused, Happy, Worried, Hurt, Angry
  • Teach them about opposite feelings:
  • Happy vs Sad; Content vs Angry
  • Teach them about similar feelings: Happy and Content; 'Mad' and Angry
  • Teach them to understand other people's feelings.
  • Teach Them To Manage Feelings
  • Teach them to trust their feelings.
    E.g.: "I am not comfortable staying with Aunt Mary because I don't like how Bobby looks at me."
  • Establish house rules.
    E.g.: "You cannot watch TV during the school week".
  • Give them chores to develop a sense of responsibility.
    E. g:"Every week end your job will be to sweep the yard and wash your socks".
  • Teach them not to take revenge.
    E.g.: "Stop hitting me or I'm going to tell daddy".
  • Allow them to make small choices, so that they will know how to make bigger decisions.
    E.g.: "Which shoe do you want to wear today?"


Nutrition is defined as the intake of food according to the body's dietary needs.

Good nutrition is an adequate, well balanced diet which when combined with regular physical activity this is the cornerstone of good health.

Benefits of Good Nutrition

  • Enjoy a happy and healthy lifestyle.
  • Builds and boost immunity and healthy development,
  • Protects the human body against disease and infection
  • Maintain healthy body weight.
  • Enriches life with food variety
  • Improves emotional health and general feeling of wellbeing
  • Eating food from all the food groups provides all the nourishment that the body needs

Poor Nutrition can Lead to:

  • Reduced immunity
  • Increased susceptibility to disease
  • Impaired physical and mental development
  • Reduced productivity

Regional Nutritional Programme

Main Objectives

  • Health and Development Objective: To promote the importance of nutritional needs throughout the life course of the populace and to tackle nutrition transition problems at regional and parish levels.
  • Nutritional Deficiencies Objective: To reduce nutritional deficiencies through prevention and treatment strategies.
  • Nutrition-related Chronic Diseases Objective: To promote the adoption of healthy dietary habits, active lifestyles, the control of obesity- and nutrition-related chronic diseases.

World Health Organization and Nutrition

Goal two of the United Nations seventeen Sustainable Development goals is to 'End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture' (UN, 2015).

Goal 2 Zero Hunger

Major programme areas

Setting up a Baby Friendly Space in Your Workplace

  • Establish Breastfeeding policy (Like breast feeding breaks etc.)
  • Sensitize management and staff
  • Locate a private, sanitary space/room
  • Have a hand washing area/ station
  • Refrigerator for storage
  • Comfortable seating
  • Well ventilated and cool
  • Design to accommodate privacy stalls/ screens
  • Changing station
  • Waste Bins
  • Work places may choose to establish a day care facility to assist with their working mothers

10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding

1a. Comply fully with the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and relevant World Health Assembly resolutions.

1b. Have a written infant feeding policy that is routinely communicated to staff and parents.

1c. Establish ongoing monitoring and data-management systems.

2. Ensure that staff have sufficient knowledge, competence and skills to support breastfeeding.

3. Discuss the importance and management of breastfeeding with pregnant women and their families.

4. Facilitate immediate and uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact and support mothers to initiate breastfeeding as soon as possible after birth.

5. Support mothers to initiate and maintain breastfeeding and manage common difficulties.

6. Do not provide breastfed newborns any food or fluids other than breast milk, unless medically indicated.

7. Enable mothers and their infants to remain together and to practise rooming-in 24 hours a day.

8. Support mothers to recognize and respond to their infants’ cues for feeding.

9. Counsel mothers on the use and risks of feeding bottles, teats and pacifiers.

10. Coordinate discharge so that parents and their infants have timely access to ongoing support and care.


Early Initiation of Breastfeeding: the Key to Survival and Beyond

How nutrition helps to fight Chronic Communicable diseases

The North East Regional Health Authority (NERHA) recognises the importance of Nutrition in Health and development of our nation and seeks to address the nutritional needs of the population through integration of their major priorities into their policies, program and strategies