KINGSTON, March 15 (JIS): The Ministry of Health has provided additional resources to its main hospitals in Kingston, St. Andrew and St. Catherine to treat persons who have been affected by the smog from the Riverton City disposal site.
Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Marion Bullock-DuCasse, informed a press briefing at the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) in Kingston, on Sunday (March 15), that additional supplies and equipment have been provided to the Spanish Town and Kingston Public hospitals, as well as the University Hospital of the West Indies, and Bustamante Hospital for Children.
“Equipment and supplies provided include nebulisers, humidifiers and pharmaceuticals to deal with persons with respiratory symptoms,” Dr. Bullock-DuCasse said.
She also informed that five health centres were opened on Saturday (March 14), four in Kingston and St. Andrew and one in Spanish Town; and two on Sunday(March 15).
Dr. Bullock-DuCasse further said that the Casualty Department of the National Chest Hospital is now operating on a 24-hour basis as at Saturday (March 14), noting that the institution usually opens only in the days.
“This is to allow easy access to persons who require health care,” she said.
The Acting Chief Medical Officer reported that 642 persons were treated at health care facilities between Friday (March 13) and midday Sunday (March 15), four of whom were admitted.
“I must point out that no deaths have been reported or recorded in any health facility associated with this event,” the Acting Chief Medical Officer said.
The Ministry is also responsible for air quality testing in collaboration with the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), and Dr. Bullock-DuCasse informed that two additional sampling sites have been established. These are located at the Jamaica Fire Brigade in Half Way Tree, and at an office on Spanish Town Road.
“Both 24-hour samples were retrieved yesterday and testing for particulate matter is being conducted by the Bureau of Standards,” Dr. Bullock-DuCasse said, explaining that the results should be available by late Sunday (March 15) or Monday (March 16) morning.
She further noted that testing for other chemicals, such as volatile organic compound, will be done by a Canadian company and the results should be forthcoming by Wednesday or Thursday of this week.
The Acting Chief Medical Officer continues to recommend that persons, especially those with pre-existing respiratory conditions such as asthma, avoid the affected areas as much as possible or remain indoors. “Keep windows and doors closed; andcover nose and mouth with a damp rag or cloth,” she stressed.
Dr. Bullock-DuCasse also advised that “at the first sign of any symptoms, such as shortness of breath or any difficulty in breathing, take your medications as prescribed by your doctor and make a visit without delay.”
The Acting Chief Medical Officer assured that the Ministry continues to monitor the situation and will provide further updates.
TCI Census making strides; Provo progress slowed to crime
#TurksandCaicos, December 5, 2023 – For a second year, criminal activity has had a direct effect on the long-awaited Turks and Caicos Islands Census causing delays, particularly in densely populated communities of Providenciales.
“Providenciales, facing distinctive challenges due to its transient population, periodic serious crimes, and logistical difficulties, reports a completion rate slightly below fifty percent, explained Shirlen Forbes. Chief Statistician in the Department in response to Magnetic Media.
Forbes went on to detail the issues in the November 27 update to our news organization.
“Multiple factors, including crime, contribute to the low completion rate on Providenciales. Enumerators face safety risks in certain areas with higher crime incidence, creating an atmosphere of insecurity and fear among residents. This has led to hesitations in visiting specific areas or households during periodic surges in violent crime, affecting the overall completion rate.”
The disheartening report emerges following a presentation at Cabinet.
Residents had suspected the unforgiving nature of the criminal element in the Turks and Caicos, known to shoot into crowds, recklessly and callously in an effort to hit their true target had created an unsafe environment. This unchecked violence has stymied the collection of the much needed information.
In order to fix it the Department admits it needs more time, resources and new strategies.
“It’s essential to recognize that extension to the data collection period is not unique to the Turks and Caicos Islands, as other countries in the region, despite having richer census-taking histories and more resources, have faced similar challenges.”
As for the other islands the prognosis is much better.
Middle Caicos and Salt Cay with their significantly smaller populations and almost crime-free communities stand out with a 100 percent completion rate. Still, the Department wants more refined data on these islands.
Grand Turk, South Caicos, and North Caicos all have completion rates exceeding 85 percent said Mr. Forbes. The goal for these islands is to conclude the census by December 2023.
As for Parrot Cay, Pine Cay, Ambergris Cay and West Caicos, which are mainly resort islands, the completion is expected within the next two weeks,
Chief Statistician, Shirlen Forbes said while the progress on all islands outside of Providenciales is commendable, his office is also hoping to funnel quality data to the government
“While completion rates signify progress, the importance of data quality cannot be overstated. High completion rates don’t guarantee accurate data if the collection is rushed or incomplete. Ensuring data accuracy and quality is imperative for the overall success of the census.”
Bahamas went into COP28 with BIG GOALS in mind
#TheBahamas, December 5, 2023 – The Bahamas government highlighted its intentions for the upcoming Cop28 conference which includes taking part in the negotiation process, advancing investment programmes and the launching of major projects.
According to Dr. Rochell Newbold, Climate Advisor, for negotiations, there are three potential outputs the country is looking to follow and they include loss and damage, the technical assistance that will be offered to countries within the loss and damage space and following up on the issues of global stocktake.
For the loss and damage fund, she speaks to the efforts of small island developing states since Cop27, to enhance matters relevant to the loss and damage fund.
This intention, that is to encourage dialogue around this issue, comes as there are geopolitical issues going on globally and global finances are going to those issues and not to global issues of climate change.
In fact, referring to actual statistics, she expressed that in as little as a few months, more than $200 billion dollars were raised and distributed to the issue of war and yet, for years there has been talks around $100 billion needed to address the climate agreement.
For issues of investment opportunities, opportunities which Newbold says would bring great success for The Bahamas, she referred to a current investment project in the country that is a financial grant to address energy and water needs on nine islands within the archipelago, which they are looking to expand.
Furthermore, at Cop28, The Bahamas will launch its BlueCo Caribbean project, driving the blue economy and investment strategy, Newbold said.
This program comes after a regional meeting last year where it was highlighted that the region needs a program to address the needs of island states as well as the fact that less than 0.1 percent of global investments go to the marine environment.
Regarding global stock take, it addresses everything related to the world’s position on climate action and support, identifying the gaps, and working to chart a better course forward to accelerate climate action, according to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Additionally, Newbold made another revelation that they will be unveiling The Bahamas Sustainable Investment programme, which has been worked on since Cop 27.
Described as a sleek and tactical delegation, the advisor said less than 20 people will be attending Cop28 including the Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister with Responsibility for Energy and Transportation.
Sexual violence along migration routes, children included
December 5, 2023 – Irregular rates of migration across the Latin America and Caribbean region continue and with it there is a growing rate of sexual violence.
This is according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in its Weekly Situation Update for November 20th, 2023 and it informs that Organizations indicate growing reports of sexual violence which is affecting women and children who take on what has been time and time again, described as a “treacherous journey across the Darien jungle between Colombia and Panama.
Regarding the sexual violence affecting these migrants, the report refers to humanitarian medical care charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) which says it has treated 397 survivors of sexual violence which includes many children, that is after they successfully reach Panama.
In October 2023, MSF saw a decrease in the number of migrants crossing the Darien gap, 49,256 people compared to September which saw 75,268.
However, despite the drop in number, there was an increase in the number of survivors of sexual assault looking for assistance, the weekly update says.
In October, MSF helped 107 people. In one week, 59 people reach out for help from the charity which is equivalent to one event of sexual violence every three hours, the report pointed out. Speaking to child victims of sexual assault, it said three of the rape survivors were children aged 11, 12 and 16.
To help put a stop to this immoral behavior, the OCHA states that humanitarian organizations, the MSF included, UNHCR, Human Rights Watch, International Crisis Group and Plan International and others, are calling on relevant governments to make it a priority to protect migrants and their human rights, as well as strengthen humanitarian capacities and improve comprehensive response strategies such as increasing legal and safe channels for migration and looking into the cause of movements, with the intention to remove them or help reduce their impact of the people’s decision regarding migration.
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