Public health veteran passes

September 30, 2022
Charmaine Vassell-Shettlewood
Charmaine Vassell-Shettlewood

Jamaica's public health system suffered a major loss on Wednesday, following the death of public health nurse Charmaine Vassell-Shettlewood.

The nurse, who served the public health system for over 30 years, died after a period of illness.

"We've lost an excellent public health veteran, the kind who has made a great contribution to the health and wellness of the people of Jamaica," health minister Dr Christopher Tufton said.

As a critical front-line worker in the country's COVID-19 response, Vassell-Shettlewood's duties include training community health aides, public-health nurses and staff who are working in the field. She is credited as being among the island's top experts in contact tracing.

The public health stalwart was also active in training new community health aides over the course of the pandemic and gave of her expertise to the island's vaccination programme.

Vassell-Shettlewood was recognised by the Southeast Regional Health Authority for her excellent service in nursing and midwifery care in 2020.

In an interview with this newspaper in March 2020, the senior public-health nurse at the Kingston and St Andrew Health Department said she believed she was "called by God to be a nurse".

"There was no point in my life growing up that I wanted to be anything else, but to be a nurse. It was just in me to be a nurse. God wanted me to be a nurse to assist people," Nurse Vassell-Shettlewood had said.

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