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TCI Health reports suspected cases of Hand, Food and Mouth disease in Grand Turk

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Photo from Mercy.Net

#TurksandCaicosIslands – February 13, 2020 — The Ministry of Health, Agriculture Sports and Human Services (MOHASHS) of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) wishes to inform the public that there have been reports of cases of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) on Grand Turk.

The Primary Health Care Department is in the process of collecting specimens to be sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency for confirmatory testing. Primary Health has embarked on an enhanced surveillance and education campaign to ensure that suspected cases are identified as quickly as possible and schools and daycare facilities are educated on the proper implementation of prevention and hygiene measures (e.g. hand washing).

HFMD is a contagious viral illness that primarily affects infants and children younger than 5 years old. It is transmitted by direct contact with nasal secretions, (droplets produced by coughing or sneezing), saliva, fluid from blisters and stool of infected individuals.  HFMD is most prevalent in child care settings due to frequent contact with soiled diapers and children putting their hands in their mouths. HFMD occasionally occurs in adolescents and adults.

Symptoms include some or all of the following: painful sores in the mouth, rashes on the hands and feet, which may be associated with blisters, fever, headache, feeling generally unwell or irritable, runny nose, and/or sore throat. It is mostly a mild and self-limiting illness lasting for a few days. 

However, there are more severe, albeit uncommon, forms of the disease which are associated with neurological complications as a result of meningitis (associated with fever, headache, and neck stiffness) and encephalitis (resulting in paralysis). Affected persons can sometimes be contagious for days or weeks after the symptoms have ended

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There is no specific treatment for hand-foot-and-mouth disease. Symptoms are controlled by the use of paracetamol (Panadol or Tylenol) for fever and pain relief, it is often all that is necessary. In some cases, HFMD can cause a sore mouth and throat, which makes it difficult to swallow.  It is therefore important to maintain adequate fluid intake to avoid dehydration that could result in hospitalization. Symptoms usually resolve within ten days.

Persons with suspected HFMD should abstain from school and report to a healthcare provider to obtain guidance, including when to return to work, school or daycare.

The MOHAHS will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as appropriate.

For more information on HFMD contact your primary health care provider or visit one of our primary health care clinics.

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Turks & Caicos Islands Government retains it BBB+ credit rating

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#TurksandCaicos, June 25, 2022 – On the 29th of March 2022, Standard and Poor’s Global (S&P) released the results of the review of the 2021 sovereign credit rating for the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI). S&P has affirmed the country’s sovereign credit rating for long-term bonds, denominated in both domestic and foreign currency, of BBB+. Additionally, the agency also maintained the outlook as Stable for the TCI.

The Rating Agency advised that the stable outlook takes into account that the country’s economy will continue to recover given the strong performance of tourism and will improve in 2022. Furthermore, S&P believes the TCI will continue to adhere to prudent financial management and limit borrowing, and that fiscal reserve balances will increase during the next two years. Additionally, the rating agency also expects continuity in TCI’s institutional relationship with the U.K.

In its report, the rating agency advised that the rationale for the rating was a result of the Country’s institutional and economic profile. That is, the economic recovery led by resurgence in tourism and continued institutional stability. S&P indicated that despite the short-term pressures of the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the TCI Government’s prudent actions, aided by the U.K.’s swift transfer of vaccines, allowed international travel to resume as early as the first quarter of 2021. The combination of the Government’s swift response, coupled with pent-up demand in key source markets, led to a strong recovery in tourism, which in turn, has led to a better-than anticipated economic recovery. S&P estimates GDP per capita to be $23,674 in 2021, up from $20,757 in 2020 – a 14% year over year increase. Tourism remains the core pillar of the economy, indirectly accounting for about 65% of GDP.

S&P indicated that the ratings could be revised upwards if better-than-expected GDP increases and continued favorable growth prospects were to substantially boost economic resilience. Additionally, the rating agency also stated that they could also raise the ratings if better availability of timely data, especially on external flows and stocks, were to boost transparency and indicated that TCI enjoyed a significantly stronger economic or external position.

However, if the rebound in tourism is interrupted or turns out to be weaker than expected, leading to prolonged stress on revenues, this may cause the TCI Government to run persistent fiscal deficits that could materially worsen public finances. This could lead to a down grading of the rating.

Commenting on the rating, Minister of Finance, Investment & Trade, Hon. E. Jay Saunders, stated that “I am happy and extremely proud that S&P saw fit to maintain our country’s credit rating at BBB+, particularly at a time when many countries had theirs downgraded – mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a testament to the strength of our economy, and particularly, our government’s prudent handling of it. We have taken particular note of S&P’s comment that they could raise the ratings on better availability of timely data, and we are working towards achieving that.”

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TCI House of Assembly Members take ‘info-gathering’ trip to Isle of Man

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 25, 2022 – A five-man Turks and Caicos delegation recently visited the Isle of Man on a diplomatic mission to the country.  Hon John Malcolm, Deputy Speaker of the TCI House of Assembly; Hon Edwin Astwood, Leader of the Opposition; Hon Kyle Knowles, Member of Parliament for Wheeland and Hon Shaun Malcolm, All Island Member of Parliament represented Turks and Caicos on the visit.

The Isle of Man is a self-Governing British dependency which means the country sets its own laws and is not bound by British ones.  The delegates during their visit have called on the Lord Bishop of Sodor, the President of Tynwald Laurence Skelly, the Mayor of Douglas Janet Thommeny, and Lieutenant Governor John Lorimer.

Additionally, they were welcomed at the House of Keys (Parliament).

After the experience, MP Shaun Malcolm expressed that the Turks and Caicos would eventually like to get to this place as well telling news organisations in Isle of Man, “There are parts of your [governance] system that we in the Turks and Caicos do desire to have in terms of full internal self-government.”

Malcolm praised the independence of the electorate noting that the TCI hoped to get to the point where there was more autonomy and internal control of the governance of the country.

Malcolm couldn’t help but give some press to his own country making sure to note that “we boast the best beaches on the globe literally!”

Malcolm described the trip as an ‘information gathering trip.’

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TCI Labour Market shortages impacting Electricity provider, FortisTCI 

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 25, 2022 – In the wake of their new apprenticeship program energy company FortisTCI has revealed they are woefully short on skilled labour. Representatives of the company spoke at the apprenticeship launch explaining the difficulty the company is facing.

“Recruitment is one of the things that we do have challenges with, particularly in the technical area.  The engineers, the linesmen, the operators, we are limited locally with finding those skills…the labour market is under tremendous stress right now, it has been a difficult challenge for us.”  Fortis TCI President and CEO Ruth Forbes said.

While she could not provide a concrete number on how many unfilled positions existed she explained what the company needed.

“We have talked a lot about transitioning to more sustainable sources of energy, we are looking for skills in that area, also on the data analytics side and we’re always looking for engineers, technicians, I.T. persons, cybersecurity,” she explained “we’re also looking for skills on the business side, we have accounting roles that are currently open that we are unable to fill because we can’t find any qualified accountants and the list goes on.”

In terms of how badly the lack of workers is affecting them Forbes said they had been able to manage so far despite the fact that it was not ideal. In the meantime persons in the company we’re taking it as an opportunity to upskill themselves and Fortis was able to promote a batch of nine individuals recently.

FortisTCI has a history of seeing opportunities for growth in talented young people and providing them with opportunities to hone their talents but with the advent of this worker shortage they are going a step further to grow the skills base in the Turks and Caicos.   A FortisTCI university is ‘most definitely’ in the works they say.

The shortage is not due to them losing employees at all as young people employed to the company have glowing reviews of their workspace. Director of Human Resources Claudia Munnings explained that the company was enthusiastic about creating an environment for growth.

“One of the things that we are focusing on is our employee experience and transforming that experience… the thing that most motivates persons is the opportunity for growth.. you can grow where you are planted and it’s very important for people to accept the opportunity to grow in the areas where they are and embrace those opportunities for training, learning and development so that when the opportunity arises to move upward they are prepared for it . That is something that we have pushed.”

Munnings explained that they were constantly pushing their employees further in their careers but the gap persists. The recently announced apprenticeship program at FortisTCI is one step in closing the gap.

“One of the things that we are looking at as an extension is extending some of the training courses we have internally to members of the public.”

While the construction of a university remains in the works they are currently working on other way to funnel students into the industry.

“We see ourselves strengthening our relationships with the TCI Community College and with High Schools and even the primary schools, getting in there as soon as we can. We’re always looking for ways to bridge the talent gap in the Turks and Caicos Islands. ”

The TVET program by the TCICC is one the company has its eye on currently as well.  For people already qualified FortisTCI is still accepting applications for its apprenticeship program, which offers Associate and Bachelor’s degree graduates an opportunity to experience the business environment within its three major divisions, the job will begin on August 2, 2022 with the top 4 candidates.

They will be allowed to work for a period of two (2) years and will rotate within a specific division for the first 6-12 months for broad exposure with a specific placement for the subsequent 12 months based on their proficiency. Munnings promised it would pay well with many of the benefits afforded to employees.

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