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TCI observes World Antibiotic Awareness Week

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#Providenciales, November 20, 2019 – Turks and Caicos – According to the World Health Organization (WHO), antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health (both animal and plant), food security, and development today. Antibiotic resistance refers specifically to the ability of bacteria to resist the effects of antibiotics (medications used to treat them). They have warned that it is so severe that if no action is taken it threatens our ability to treat common infectious diseases, resulting in prolonged illnesses, disability, and even death.

This highlights the importance of World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW). WAAW, which is being celebrated on November 18 – 24th this year, is an annual observance that highlights the steps everyone can take to improve antibiotic prescribing and use.

Antibiotic resistance occurs naturally over time, usually through genetic changes. However, certain human behaviours can make the situation worse and speed up the process. This includes the misuse and overuse of antibiotics in people and animals, including use without professional oversight. Examples of misuse include when people take antibiotics for viral infections like colds and flu, and when they are given to animals to promote their growth or used to prevent diseases in healthy animals.

Given the above, here are some ways you can help prevent the spread of antimicrobial resistant organisms:

· Take antibiotics exactly as prescribed by your doctor. That is, do not skip doses and ensure that you complete your course of treatment, even when you start feeling better.

· Only take antibiotics prescribed for you; do not share or use leftover antibiotics.

· Do not save antibiotics for the next illness, discard any leftover medication.

· Do not ask for antibiotics when your doctor thinks you do not need them.

· Prevent infections by regularly washing hands, preparing food hygienically, avoiding close contact with sick people, practicing safer sex, and keeping vaccinations up to date.

· Do not purchase antibiotics from unlicensed pharmacies or shops.

Because antibiotic resistance is a complex problem that is driven by many connected factors, it is important to take a multisectoral coordinated approach to minimize its emergence and spread. In light of this, the Ministry of Health has formed a working group, comprised of health professionals from various sectors, to devise a national action plan (NAP) to tackle the this very serious problem.

The NAP is a comprehensive plan that will place emphasis on antimicrobial resistance (resistance in microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites) and not just antibiotic resistance itself. The NAP will seek to improve awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance, strengthen knowledge through surveillance and research, reduce the incidence of infection and improve the use of antimicrobial agents. Throughout the year, members of the team have engaged in several exercises and training designed to build capacity in this area.

The MoHASHS in collaboration with the TCI Hospital and local pharmacies has planned a number of events/activities. These include:

  • Discussion on antibiotic resistance on Monday, November 18th airing on RTC’s Health Matters Radio show at 7:00 p.m.
  • Distributing information flyers to the Primary Health Care clinics.
  • Setting up information booths at the TCI Hospitals on Wednesday, November 20th.
  • Discussions on antibiotic resistance (to be conducted by the Director of Agriculture) with farmers throughout the week (November 18 – 24, 2019).
  • A presentation on antibiotic resistance at HJ Robinson High School on Friday, November 22, 2019.
  • A presentation on antibiotic resistance to church groups in Grand Turk at the LIFE Training Centre on Saturday, November 23, 2019 at 10:00 a.m.
  • A presentation on antibiotic resistance to Providence Baptist Church, North Caicos on Sunday, November 24, 2019.
  • A presentation on antibiotic resistance to Enid Capron Primary School by Carolina Pharmacy, Thursday, November 21, 2019.
  • Discussion on antibiotic resistance on the Breakfast Club by Carolina Pharmacy, Saturday, November 23, 2019.
  • Local pharmacies will be educating and counselling patients on antibiotic resistance at their respective locations throughout the week.

For more information regarding antibiotic resistance please contact the MoHASHS on 338-5132 or 338- 3072.

Release: TCIG

Health

Woman dies on Tuesday; 32nd Covid Death for Turks & Caicos

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – The Turks and Caicos has recorded its 32nd death related to COVID-19.

A Ministry of Health press release informed that the individual who was in quarantine in Grand Turk and requested emergency aid on Tuesday; response came from the public health team in Grand Turk.

The person, who we are told is a special needs young woman – was unvaccinated and had underlying medical conditions.

The death rate in the Turks and Caicos of both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons has climbed alarmingly this year.  In the 21-month period from March 2020 when the country recorded its first case to December 2021, there were 26 deaths recorded in the TCI.

In the 19 days since the start of 2022 that number has increased to 32; which means six deaths already in January.

 

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Bahamas News

Cruising should slow down says PAHO

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.

Dr. Ciro Ugarte Director of Health Emergencies at the PAHO was referring to the Bahamas but made sure to note that the advice was highly relevant to many countries in the times of omicron.

“In the context of intense transmission, due to the Omicron variant as we have highlighted several times. It is just logical to suspend or at least limit the cruise ship traffic as an outbreak on board might end up exceedingly high and probably will go beyond the capacity of local health services”

Both the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos are experiencing a massive uptick in cases and several warnings regarding cruise travel have been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control.

Cruising just resumed for many regional countries this past Summer, Turks and Caicos was among the latest to restart on December 13.

A stop to sailing would be devastating to economies, however, ports of call like Grand Turk which are reeling with rocketing case numbers of COVID are urged to consider the suggestion of slowing down on ships by PAHO.

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Caribbean News

Understanding Sargassum with help from the TCI’s Department of Environment & Coastal Resources  

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – Sargassum, also known as seaweed, is a natural brown macroalga that lives in temperate and tropical oceans of the world. The floating micro eco-system is important to many species, including baby turtles, little crabs, and tiny fish. All these animals use the floating rafts of the sargassum for protection, shelter, and food.

Over the years, sargassum has been increasing its quantity in the Caribbean due to climate change. As water temperatures increase, sargassum blooms, and as this continues, it occurs in large amounts. This can be dangerous for some marine life because when seaweed washes up on the shore, some species become trapped in the sargassum mat.

Environmental Outreach Coordinator at the Department of Environmental and Coastal Resources for TCI, Amy Avenant, says the Turks and Caicos Islands has not seen the worst of the overgrowth.

“In the Turks and Caicos Islands, we have not seen the full severity of sargassum blooms. Our neighbours in Bonaire, for example, experience up to six feet of sargassum, and they have found stranded dolphins, sea turtles, and sometimes even birds,” said Amy Avenant.

“When the sargassum washes up on shore, it starts to decompose, and when it decomposes, it emits methane, and that is the stinky sulfuric eggy smell that you can smell when you walk past it on the beach. It is a bad thing for climate change because of the methane, but it is not harmful to your health.”

Turks and Caicos saw this in extreme amounts in October; so severe, resorts were forced to bag and bury the stinky seaweed which for over a week covered the usually sandy white stretch of Grace Bay beach.

Avenant noted that in the TCI, we have a balance between managing the influx of sargassum and impacting the areas where it lands because its influx is correlated to the cycles of the moon.

She also said sargassum can be used as a fertilizer in farming. If you collect it, the advice is to spread it out and ensure you wash the excess salt off before adding to your gardens or farms.

There are also hidden dangers and habitat threats to the piles of sargassum on shorelines.

Avenant informed, when you see sargassum on the beach, ensure you watch out for wildlife that might be stuck and species which might have made a home of the ocean’s deposit which has washed up, this is heightened on rocky shores.

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