Mixed views on animal therapy programme for sick children

Consultant psychiatrist Dr. Earl Wright and former NAJ President Janett Coore-Farr
By Kimone Witter
Two medical professionals have given mixed views on the Animal Assisted Recovery and Care pilot programme to be introduced at the Bustamante Hospital for Children.
Minister of Health and Wellness Dr. Christopher Tufton, in announcing the 18-month programme on Tuesday, said the aim is to reduce the anxiety and stress of hospitalisation, improve the environment for health care delivery, reduce the length of hospitalisation and reduce the need for the use of drugs in health care delivery.
Consultant Psychiatrist Dr. Earl Wright believes it is a commendable initiative.
He argued that it is "well recognised worldwide that animals are supportive" so, if the protocols are followed, there should be no "negative effects, no infections, no trauma". 
But former president of the Nurses Association of Jamaica, Janett Coore-Farr, said based on the Jamaican culture, she does not think animal therapy will work. 
"I do not see our children as embracing this kind of thing. If we were in a culture that children embraced animals and were accustomed to having animals around them and all this kind of thing, I think it would work, but presently I do not see that as a part of our training with our children," she contended. 
Mrs Coore-Farr suggested that the integration of more people in human therapy would be a better option for the Jamaican context.
The Animal Assisted Recovery and Care pilot project is to be launched during the Christmas period.

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