It is an historic week in health for the Turks and Caicos and last night at the Grace Bay Club, the Ministry of Health & Human Services announced a public private partnership designed to improve communication and control the spread of communicable diseases.
The Ministry is calling it TCI Cares, and with a star studded cast of Government and Tourism Leaders, the initiative two years in the making was launched. Premier Rufus Ewing told Magnetic Media it establishes a process where Health is notified and activated to control illnesses like Norovirus, which forced three major properties in the islands to be closed down within the last five years.
“We got the reports from the various sentinel sights, a nurses station and Beaches, a nurses station at Grace Bay Club, a nurses station or nurses station at Club Med, and they report these cases to the primary health care manager. But those things sometimes take a day or two for you to actually see a trend, but if you have persons who are reporting online, real time, then you can see in a flash what the trend is. All of a sudden in one day, you are on alert that twenty person have diarrhea, then you are able to respond in a timely fashion, and intervene without the problem growing into something that can be a negative impact, or adverse impact on the resort in the country.”
TCI Cares is a branded version of the Caribbean Public Health Agency’s Tourism & Health program, Dr. Lisa Indar, told me that not only is the Turks and Caicos the first in the region, but we are first in the world to roll out the plan.
“This is progressive, this is very progressive, this is innovative and progressive. No where in the world there is a tourism and health program. This is the first of its kind world wide.”
The Governor & Deputy Governor, Premier, Deputy Premier & Border Control Minister, Attorney General, Hotel & Tourism Association Executives, several Government Directors & Deputies, Tourist Board & Airports Authority executives and the Permanent Secretary of Health were all on hand for the kick off of TCI Cares.
The Master of Ceremony was House Speaker, Hon Robert Hall.