#TurksandCaicos, October 30, 2017 – Providenciales – The Ministry of Health, Agriculture and Human Services expresses a heartfelt welcome to Dr. Esther Mary De Gourville, PAHO/WHO Representative for the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands, for her visit 24 – 25 October 2017 to the Turks and Caicos Islands to meet with Government and health sector officials. The purpose of her visit was to discuss support provided by PAHO pre and post hurricanes Irma and Maria and identify any need for additional support or follow-up on actions already taken. Prior to the storms, Mr. Hugo Martinez, Disaster Preparedness Professional of the PAHO Caribbean Program Coordination Team, arrived in the TCI Wednesday, 6th September.
On Thursday morning, Mr. Martinez joined Mr. Kenrick Neely, Director of the Environment Health Department, to conduct a pre-storm assessment in Providenciales of the hospital, Government primary health care clinics and environmental areas of critical health concern. Post the hurricanes:
Key areas of concern and support provided by PAHO included:
- Vector control;
- Disease surveillance;
- Water quality;
- Protection of vaccines and essential medicines;
- Psychological first aid; and
- Primary health care.
During Dr. De Gourville’s visit, she had an opportunity to meet with the Premier, Hon. Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson, the Minister of Health, Agriculture and Human Services, Hon. Edwin Astwood, Heads of Department within the Ministry of Health including the acting Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Tamera Robinson, and Director of Health Services, Dr. Nadia Astwood.
Dr. De Gourville also had an opportunity to visit both hospital facilities (Grand Turk and Providenciales) as well as meet with their clinical management and facility management teams.
Ms. Charlene Higgs, Director of the National Health Disaster and Education and Training Unit and Mr. Kenrick Neely, Director of the Environmental Health Department, who served critical roles during both hurricanes, accompanied Dr. De Gourville to her meetings in Grand Turk and Providenciales and provided firsthand accounts of issues encountered during the health sector hurricane response.
The Government of the TCI continues to appreciate the collaborative relationship we have forged with PAHO over the years and are grateful for the support we have received from PAHO especially in times of disaster and emergencies.