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Bahamas Gender and Family Affairs Launches Online Family Safety Survey

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Dr. Jacinta Higgs, the Director of the Department of Gender and Family Affairs

#NASSAU, The Bahamas – May 13, 2020 — The Department of Gender and Family Affairs, Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development, has launched an online survey entitled: ‘Family Safety Survey – COVID-19 Bahamas,’ in line with the department’s objectives of “keeping our families safe.”

The availability of the survey is also a part of the technological reform underway at the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development.

Dr. Jacinta Higgs, the Director of the Department of Gender and Family Affairs, said the survey (available online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PZDXGP9) examines how interactions in Bahamian homes may have changed since the arrival of the COVID-19 Pandemic in The Bahamas.

To reduce the instances of COVID-19 community spread in countries worldwide, global governments have implemented social/physical distancing policies, curfews and mandatory lockdowns as key mechanisms in that fight. This has resulted in persons having to spend more and more time together in confined spaces at home.

Dr. Higgs said the survey – which will take just five minutes to complete – will allow officials to garner as much information as possible on what is actually happening in homes during the curfew and/or mandatory lockdown periods in order to be better able to respond, and to be better able to bring about improvement: “once we know, and if persons reach out to us.”

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The survey, which has been designed to elicit responses from males and females 18 years of age and above, has multiple objectives.

“The objectives of the survey are to ascertain, via an online platform which is accessible across the length and breadth of The Bahamas, responses from persons – men and women – ages 18 and above, the level of safety and/or violence in their homes pre-COVID-19 curfew, or lockdown or Emergency Order.  And during this experience to find out, in the first instance, what is the prevalence or lack thereof of violence within our homes and, secondly, would the experiences have been exacerbated as a result of persons living now confined, and living very closely to one another over longer periods of time,” Dr. Higgs said.

“Also to find out what are the concerns of Bahamians from every island and every cay; and then finally to provide persons who may be experiencing violence in their homes with yet another safe space contact (safespace242@gmail.com).  A private cell number has also been provided for those persons to have contact with the Department.”

Dr. Higgs said anyone who has access to a cell phone anywhere in The Bahamas can participate in the survey.

“This is the first time in the history of the Department that we have conducted such a survey. This is the first time in the history of the Department that we have such reach to those persons.” 

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The Department has undertaken the steps necessary to ensure the security and confidentially of all answers to the survey. Officials say the answers provided will remain completely “anonymous and confidential.”

The ‘surveymonkey’ web platform is international, universal and used by universities and research organizations and/or centres, in addition to departments within government, to allow those organizations to reach the greatest number of persons electronically.

“It is a platform that is safe,” Dr. Higgs assured. “We are working with one of the major universities, and the information will go directly to the research person assigned to the survey. Once the survey is submitted the responses are immediately gathered by the individual.”

Dr. Higgs said the online survey provides added benefits.

“The online survey is fully electronic which allows for the automatic calculation of the various responses. It further affords us the capability for the survey responses to be disaggregated (divided into detailed sub-categories) outlining for example, how many men have responded, how many women have responded.

“The advantage of using surveymonkey is not only to allow us access to every Bahamian in every Family Island and Cay, but it also allows us to gather that information, collate the information, then analyze the information and provide a report in a very quick turnaround time, as opposed to the sometimes years of turnaround time a survey of this magnitude may yield in terms of analyzing [the data] and then producing a report,” Dr. Higgs added.

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

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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: https://www.carpha.org/Projects/Ongoing-Projects/Strengthening-Strategic-Intelligence-and-Partnership-Approaches-To-Prevent-and-Control-NCDs-and-Strengthen-Regional-Health-Security-In-The-Caribbean

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World Sight Day: Love Your Eyes

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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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RBDF Congratulates Retired Commander Defence Force on National Honour Award 

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#TheBahamas, October 13, 2021 – The Royal Bahamas Defence Force congratulates Commodore Retired Leon Livingstone Smith, who was a recipient of the 2021 National Honours Awards on October 11, 2021. 

During a ceremony at the British Colonial Hilton Hotel, West Bay Street, Commodore Smith was presented with the Order of Distinction within the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, by Governor-General, the Most Honorable Sir Cornelius A. Smith. Also in attendance were his daughter, Mrs. Italia Seymour, and the Commander Defence Force, Commodore Dr. Raymond King.

Commodore Smith was one of sixteen other deserving individuals recognized on National Heroes Day for the vast contributions they made to the development of the country. The first Bahamian Officer to be appointed as Commander Defence Force, he is the longest-serving Commodore to serve this office from 1983 to 1997.

Throughout his military career, he received numerous awards and accolades, and his career in public life spanned over forty years, and on September 19, 2014, an RBDF Legend Class Vessel bearing his name was commissioned. The Royal Bahamas Defence Force is truly grateful for the devoted services of Commodore Smith to the organization and his country.

Commander Defence Force, Commodore Dr. Raymond King extends congratulations on his behalf of the members of his Executive Command, Officers, Senior Enlisted, and Junior Enlisted members of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, to Commodore Retired Leon Smith, on his great accomplishment.

 

Header:  Commodore Retired Leon Smith being presented with the Order of Distinction within the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, by Governor-General, the Most Honorable Sir Cornelius A. Smith on October 11, 2021, during a ceremony at the British Colonial Hilton Hotel, West Bay Street.

Insert: Commodore Retired Leon Smith along with recipients of the 2021 National Honours Awards on October 11, 2021, during a ceremony at the British Colonial Hilton Hotel, West Bay Street.

(RBDF Photos by Able Seaman Paul Rolle II)

 

(For further information please contact the RBDF Public Relations Department or visit our website: www.rbdf.gov.bs, follow us on FacebookTwitter and view our Youtube channel) 

-rbdf- 

#GuardOurHeritage 

#MarlinSpike 

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