Nassau, 28 May 2015 – Making good on the government’s promise to identify expert assistance to support its ongoing Rubis health investigations, Minister of Health the Hon. Dr. Perry Gomez welcomed Netherlands born Toxicologist Dr. Rik Van de Weerdt to the team during a briefing session at the Ministry of Health today.
“I am pleased to note that a Toxicologist all the way from the Netherlands is here in The Bahamas to assist us in the issues surrounding the Rubis oil spill. The government is living up to its promises and we hope that we will be much better off as a ministry and a country as a result of these consultations” said the Health Minister. He also advised that an Epidemiologist with extensive experience in working with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is scheduled to join the team of health consultants shortly.
Also welcoming Dr. Weerdt was Chief Medical Officer Dr. Glen Beneby.
“We are very pleased to welcome the Toxicologist at the invitation of PAHO (Pan American Health Organization) at our request to help us prepare the road map going forward on the Rubis oil spill” said Dr. Beneby. He said that he was happy that Dr. Weerdt had started his work and pointed out that the Ministry has compiled information from the incident that will be shared with Dr. Weerdt to be used as a reference point in his consultative work.
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) were instrumental in securing the services of Dr. Weerdt and according to its representative for The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Kelly Kavanagh Salmond, PAHO seeks to achieve two main objectives during this process. One is to support the ongoing government protocols as requested and the other is to engage in dialogue with specific organizations to establish a road map going forward and incorporating their recommendations into the team’s overall strategy. Additionally, Ms. Salmond advised that under PAHO’s human resource regime, surveillance and response to chemical events and incidences are also taken into account when recommendations are made.
COVID deaths too high, Therapeutics Options too low; TCIG is not following Mother England
By Deandrea Hamilton
#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – Five medical treatments for Covid-19 patients are in use in the United Kingdom according to National Health Service, (NHS) yet Turks and Caicos has employed only one Covid-19 therapeutic and with the surge in new deaths due to the virus, it is a wonder if more can be done in this country to save lives.
Dexamethasone was approved by the NHS in June 2020, less than a month later, Turks and Caicos Hospitals began use of the therapeutic said to offer ground-breaking coronavirus treatment.
“Dexamethasone, an anti-inflammatory drug, has been immediately approved to treat all UK hospitalised COVID-19 patients requiring oxygen, including those on ventilators, from today.
The drug has been proven to reduce the risk of death significantly in COVID-19 patients on ventilation by as much as 35% and patients on oxygen by 20%, reducing the total 28-day mortality rate by 17%,” informed a media statement from the NHS on June 16, 2020.
Ever so quietly, and despite repeated media questions to the Ministry of Health about therapeutics, Dexamethasone was added to the Covid-19 response arsenal without a word.
The TCI Hospitals informed of its use late 2021, due to Magnetic Media questions on the issue.
Four other therapies are employed in the United Kingdom in an effort to save lives; they are: Tocilizumab and sarilumab (for REHAB); Tocilizumab (for RECOVERY); Inhaled budesonide (for PRINCIPLE care) and Ronapreve (for RECOVERY).
No surprise the effort is varied and fervent as the UK sadly reports one of the highest death tolls to COVID in the world at 153,000 people lost to the virus.
By January 2021, the UK, which was also the first country to approve emergency use of the Covid-19 vaccines, added a new drug: Tocilizumab and sarilumab.
Tocilizumab and sarilumab is administered to the sickest Covid-19 patients, said the NHS.
“This is a significant finding which could have immediate implications for the sickest patients with COVID-19,” said Professor Anthony Gordon, Chair in Anaesthesia and Critical Care at Imperial College London and a Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.
“We found that among critically ill adult patients – those receiving breathing support in intensive care – treatment with these drugs can improve their chances of survival and recovery,” explained Professor Gordon. “At a time when hospitalisations and deaths from COVID-19 are soaring in the UK, it’s crucial we continue to identify effective treatments which can help to turn the tide against this disease.”
The NHS, which ran studies on all of the drugs before introducing them for medical care to its residents reported that: “Treatment with tocilizumab significantly reduced deaths: 596 (29%) of the patients in the tocilizumab group died within 28 days compared with 694 (33%) patients in the usual care group (rate ratio 0·86; [95% confidence interval [CI] 0·77 to 0·96]; p=0·007), an absolute difference of 4%. This means that for every 25 patients treated with tocilizumab, one additional life would be saved.”
By April 2021, the UK was offering a therapeutic which was administered to people presenting with COVID but not yet hospitalised for the virus.
Inhaled budesonide, was given before Covid-19 turned severe.
“This asthma drug shortens recovery time said the National Health Service. The statement published on April 12, 2021 said, “Inhaled budesonide, a common corticosteroid, is the first widely available, inexpensive drug found to shorten recovery times in COVID-19 patients aged over 50 who are treated at home and in other community settings, reports the PRINCIPLE trial in 1,779 participants. The drug is now available to treat COVID-19 on a case-by-case basis in UK primary care.”
The final approved “effective treatment” listed on the UK Government’s website is Ronapreve, sanctioned as effective in September 2021.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “We have secured a brand new treatment for our most vulnerable patients in hospitals across the UK and I am thrilled it will be saving lives from as early as next week.
The UK is leading the world in identifying and rolling out life-saving medicines, particularly for COVID-19, and we will continue our vital work to find the best treatments available to save lives and protect the NHS.
Ronapreve is the first neutralising antibody medicine specifically designed to treat COVID-19 to be authorised by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for use in the UK.”
Given the Turks and Caicos, as a UK Overseas Territory has been extraordinarily supported from the onset of the pandemic by the United Kingdom, it is unclear why only one of five options, approved by Mother England has been activated locally.
While all messages from the NHS reveal a zeal to have as many possible options for the people of the UK in the fight against COVID-19. Turks and Caicos seems stuck and lacking the motivation it needs to offer more life-saving treatments to the people – vaccinated or unvaccinated – of the territory.
Perhaps the knowledge of the cold corpses of six beloved people from January 2022 deaths due to COVID, including a special needs young woman, may get the government spending public money on the other drugs and treatments, which give Covid-19 patients an extra fighting chance at life.
CWCF Flow TCI & CWCF completes upgrades
#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – The Cable & Wireless Charitable Foundation (CWCF), in collaboration with Flow TCI, announced the completion of the first phase of its project to provide increased connectivity and broadband access to schools in the region, including TCI. The foundation recently announced the completion of three schools in the TCI during the Minister of Education’s national address at the Office of the Premier on January 13th.
Joanne Missick, Country Manager, Flow Turks & Caicos, expressed her excitement on the progress made by the CWCF, and released the following statement following the announcement. “ We are pleased to be a valued partner of the Ministry of Education, and a dedicated corporate citizen of the Turks and Caicos, and this announcement serves to reaffirm our commitment to the education sector and to parents and students across the Turks and Caicos Islands. As students and teachers prepare to return to the classroom, physically and virtually, for the new school year, they will benefit from these latest technology upgrades. During the next phase of the project, in 2022, we look forward to connecting even more schools in the TCI.”
During the national address, Flow also highlighted three of its major undertakings executed in the last three years despite the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic. This included upgrading schools in the TCI from average speed of 6Mbps of broadband speed to 50Mbps, as part of its existing program to deliver increase digital access and connectivity to public schools at no further cost to the Ministry. Flow also doubled speeds for all home internet customers in the TCI and announced $4m in network upgrades to help to improve connectivity in the sister islands.
ICT Education Officer in the Ministry of Education, Mr. Eugene Grant said: “Due to the most recent upgrades from Flow and the Cable and Wireless Charitable Foundation, we were able to enhance the connectivity at three of our schools. This is just in time. January came and the Minister announced that schools will have to resume virtually because of the spike in cases across the country and thanks to the contribution from Flow we were able to extend that connectivity to all our classrooms at the Ianthe Pratt Primary, Charles Hubert James, and Raymond Gardiner. Right now, all of our teachers at these schools can sit and have full contact virtually with their students.”
In attendance at the press conference was Flow Senior Leadership representative, Minister of Education, Labour, Employment and Customer Services, Hon. Rachel Taylor, Director in the Ministry of Education, Mr. Edgar Howell, Deputy Director in the Ministry of Education, Mr. Mark Garland, Education Officers, Members of the Executive Government (Cabinet) and officials from the Ministry of Health.
KB Home Center fined $6,000 for Hiring Haitians illegally
By Deandrea Hamilton
#TurksandCaicos, January 19, 2022 – “New sheriff in town”, Minister of Immigration Arlington Musgrove in a statement Tuesday doubled down on his public pledge to end illegal migration, and a popular retail store has been convicted with hiring illegal migrants; they’ve paid a fine of $6,000 for the breach.
Tito Forbes heads the Immigration Task Force and said the operation was informed by the Immigration Intelligence Unit. It led to a detailed investigation, he said, the result of which is conviction of “a business here in Providenciales for employing illegal workers. Businesses that employ illegal workers are a huge part of our challenge. Migrants risk their lives trying to get to TCI because they think they can find work and live here illegally”.
Ananda Ltd Trading or KB Home Center was charged and plead guilty to three counts of employing a prohibited person. The company was sentenced at court to a fine of $2,000 – or 30 days imprisonment – on each count.
Minister Musgrove said, the TCI is working hard to combat illegal migration, and businesses offering employment to illegal migrants are only harming the efforts of our country in tackling this issue.
The public is reminded that it is an offence to harbour or assist illegal persons and that persons found guilty engaging in such activities are liable to a fine of US$20,000 or a term of imprisonment of four years, or both in accordance with the Immigration Ordinance 2018 Revised or any law.
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