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BAHAMAS: Acute Care Project at PMH Getting a Shot in the Arm



#Nassau, August 15, 2018 – Bahamas – Plans to transform the Accident and Emergency Department of the Princess Margaret Hospital to meet Health’s mandate for the country’s Acute Care Project at PMH, South Beach and Elizabeth Estates Clinics got a shot in the arm August 8, 2018 as officials from the Public Hospitals Authority and TDG Architects signed a contract for the completion of construction documents which will oversee the work at the Accident and Emergency Department.  The project which will be staged owing to the ‘live environment’ in the Emergency Room has a completion timeline of 18 months.

On hand to witness the signing was Minister of Health Dr. the Honourable Duane E. Sands who has been a long-time advocate for the implementation of a model that would foster enhanced synergies between the hospital’s Emergency Department and the South Beach and Elizabeth Estates Community Clinics.

Sands touted the fact that the Accident and Emergency Department at PMH performs a phenomenal service – as he put it, seeing between 55,000 and 60,000 patients every year many of them critically ill. He added, “Accident and Emergency has, for better or worse, not seen very much of a change in its footprint or its capacity since its last major renovation in about 2006 or2007; and prior to that, not since its construction.”

The Minister of Health, who has been personally involved in the project since its soft launch a few months ago said, “We recognize that there are significant needs for upgrades.  And while the plan is to create a brand new Accident & Emergency facility; that is a number of years off.  What we are going to do is freshen-up and improve many aspects of the existing Accident and Emergency, expand the footprint, improve the through-put, and ensure the experience that the public has in our Accident and Emergency facility is consistent with what they believe is the appropriate standard for a modern day Bahamas.”

PHA Chairman Julian Rolle and Managing Director Catherine Weech signed on behalf of the Public Hospitals Authority, with Carlos J. Hepburn, Principle Architect and Marcus Laing, Partner, signing on behalf of TDG [The Design Group] Ltd.  The new designs  seek to meet current building codes where applicable, install fire alarm and fire suppression systems and impact resistant doors and windows and ensure the use of low VOC (volatile organic compounds) materials; while also achieving an aesthetic consistent with the Critical Care Block.  It expected that upon completion of the new work the efficiency, interconnectivity and overall public and patient experience in the expanded Accident and Emergency Department will be greatly improved.

Marcus Laing TDG Partner thanked the PHA for the opportunity to participate in the project, “We’ve done a few healthcare projects in conjunction with the Government, inclusive of the Critical Care Block.  We are happy that Bahamians are being entrusted to do these projects, where we are just as qualified as anyone else who would need to be brought in.

Laing added, “TDG is supported by a number of engineering companies that covers all of the other aspects.  We will be looking at everything within the bounds of the existing A&E. We will be looking at the civil works on the outside of the building, and a cover that will allow persons to get in with proper handicapped accessibility, weather proofing and security measures for the ambulance section of A&E.  We are very happy to be doing this, we not only work here, we live here so we have a stake in making sure this done properly.”

Minister Sands stressed that the project requires the input and participation of all branches of the Public Health System.  He further advised, “In the preparation for this Acute Care Project, involving Accident and Emergency on the one hand, and South Beach and Elizabeth Estates Clinics on the other, there had to be a back and forth, a dialog to consider how we could best optimize the existing Accident and Emergency facility, but at the same time upgrade the services so that people have a choice, a realistic choice, an alternative for the care of their loved ones. And so when the projects at South Beach, Elizabeth Estates and A&E are complete people will be able to decide after a long day whether they want to go to an Urgent Care Centre in their neighbourhood, or not too far from their homes, or to travel downtown to the epicentre, to ground zero which is Accident and Emergency.

The Health Minister concluded by saying, “I think we understand the dynamics, we understand the flow, and we recognize that a patient is a patient.  It’s not a public patient, or a PMH patient, it’s just a patient.  We have one healthcare system and my goal, our goal is to ensure that it functions as one healthcare system.”


Release: Public Hospitals Authority

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Statement From Hon. Fred Mitchell, MP Minister of Foreign Affairs On the Passing of Colin Powell



#TheBahamas, October 18, 2021 – I learned this morning  of the death of Colin Powell, the American general and diplomat. I worked with him as Foreign Minister in my first term, particularly on issues related to Haiti.

Yesterday in the CARICOM meeting, I recalled while discussing Haiti his role in the crisis of that time. I recall his life, times and work as generally thoughtful and considered. He was also an example of Caribbean success in America, one to emulate. He was the son of Jamaican parents. He was an example of success as a Black man in America. I am saddened by his passing.

On behalf of the Prime Minister the Hon. Philip Davis, the government and people of The Bahamas, and in my own behalf, I extend condolences to the United States of America and his family.



Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Commonwealth of The Bahamas

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CARPHA Team undertakes Assessment of Guyana’s National Surveillance System for Non-communicable Diseases



October 14, 2021 – The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) conducted a technical mission to Guyana from September 22nd – 25th, 2021 to undertake site visits as a part of an ongoing assessment of six (6) Member States’ systems for the national surveillance of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and their risk factors. This activity was implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Health Guyana through an Agence Française de Développement (AFD) – funded project.

The aim of the assessment s to provide evidence in support of the development of a Regional Surveillance System for NCDs, a priority under the regional health framework Caribbean Cooperation in Health IV (2016-2025).

During the mission, the CARPHA technical team reviewed the capacity of existing surveillance mechanisms in Guyana to collect, analyse and report on the NCDs and risk factor indicators proposed for the regional surveillance system. These indicators were recommended by a multi-stakeholder meeting series convened in 2020 under the AFD project, which reviewed global, regional, and sub-regional mandates, targets and practices in surveillance for the prevention and control of NCDs.

The CARPHA Team along with senior officials from the Ministry of Health conducted visits to two (2) health centres, the National Cancer Registry, Ministry of Health Surveillance, and Statistics Unit.  The results from the overall assessment will be presented to the Ministry of Health Guyana and will also be reviewed alongside results from similar assessments in Anguilla, Aruba, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname to inform the finalisation of the regional surveillance system design through a regional stakeholder meeting.

The regional NCDs surveillance system would facilitate the reporting and availability of data to inform policy development, planning, and tracking of progress towards meeting for targets NCDs at Regional and National levels.

Through funding from the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), CARPHA is leading the Region in Strengthening Strategic Intelligence and Partnership Approaches to prevent and control NCDs and Strengthen Regional Health Security in the Caribbean. This project, signed in 2019 with a value of €1,500,000.00, demonstrates the commitment of the Government of France and the French people to supporting the public health priorities of the Caribbean Community through CARPHA.

More information on the Project can be found at:

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World Sight Day: Love Your Eyes



Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.  14 October, 2021.  In the Caribbean, the leading causes of blindness are glaucoma, cataract and diabetic retinopathy (a complication of diabetes).  According to the Vision Atlas, 6.2 million persons in the Caribbean were reported to have vision loss, with an estimated 260,000 persons reported to be blind in 2020.

Information gathered from eighteen (18) Caribbean countries (Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago) with a population of 44 million, showed that the crude prevalence of blindness was 0.60%, and the prevalence of all vision loss was 13.20%. Many of the persons affected were females at 52%.

Global statistics reveal that for 2020, a total of 596 million persons had distance vision impairment worldwide, of this number 43 million were blind.  Projections for 2050, indicate that an estimated 885 million persons may be affected by distance vision impairment with 61 million expected to experience  blindness.

CARPHA’s vision for the Caribbean is a region where the health and wellness of the people are promoted and protected from disease, injury and disability, thereby enabling human development in keeping with the belief that the health of the Region is the wealth of the Region.

Although there are no projects that directly address vision impairment, CARPHA in collaboration with its public health partners is implementing initiatives to address risk factors such as unhealthy diets, use of harmful substances and poor physical activities. This in turn, will help reduce the risk of disability due to complications associated with poor blood sugar and blood pressure management.

Efforts to improve the standards of care for diabetes through the implementation of the CARPHA Guidelines on the Management of Diabetes in Primary Care in the Caribbean, and training of health care workers from the CARPHA Member States will also contribute to the prevention of vision impairment and blindness due to diabetes.

Access to eye care services can reduce visual impairment.  CARPHA urges Member States to strengthen health systems to improve eye health services with emphasis on reaching the vulnerable and those most in need.  Governments should commit to integrating eye care into the universal health care system.

World Sight Day is celebrated annually on the second Thursday in October.  The focus of the day is to bring awareness to blindness and vision impairment as a major public health issue and blindness prevention.

The 2021 commemoration observed on 14th October, seeks to encourage persons to think about the ‘importance of their own eye health.’

Our eyes are working hard during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been indoors, in front of our screens, and probably missed our eye test appointments. Now more than ever, we need to protect and prioritize our eyesight. There are simple things you can do for yourself to prevent the development of serious eye issues:

  • Take screen breaks for at least five minutes every hour
  • Spend time outside.  Increased outdoor time can reduce the risk of myopia (near-sightedness)[3]
  • Get an eye test. A complete eye exam can detect eye conditions such as glaucoma before it has an effect on your sight. The earlier an eye condition is identified, the easier it is to treat.
  • Eat a healthy balanced diet and engage in physical activity. These are crucial steps in maintaining a healthy weight, controlling obesity, and preventing diseases such as diabetes, all of which can impact eye health.
  • If you have diabetes, you should have your eyes checked every year

Your sight cannot be taken for granted.  It is time to LOVE YOUR EYES!

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