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Caribbean News

Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines arrive in Guyana – 10,000 persons to benefit



#Guyana, March 22, 2021 – Minister of Health, Hon. Dr Frank Anthony says the arrival of the 20,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine, Tuesday evening, is significant as Guyana moves to roll out a comprehensive COVID-19 immunisation campaign aimed at developing herd immunity.

The Minister said the 20,000 doses would see approximately 10,000 persons being vaccinated.  

“You can rest assured that we will start very early to start getting these vaccines into people’s lives because we strongly believe that that’s where it should be. That is what is going to help them to build immunity and to fight against COVID-19,” he said.

The Minister made this statement following the signing of the Acceptance Certificate of Vaccines at a simple ceremony held at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA).

Dr. Anthony expressed gratitude on behalf of the Government and People of Guyana to the Government of the People’s Republic of China for the generous and timely donation.

Charge d’Affaires at the Embassy in Guyana, Mr. Chen Xilai said the donation reflects his country’s commitment to lending support to Guyana.

“I hope these vaccines will be used on the most needed people and help Guyana in the fight against the COVID and the recovery of the economy,” he said.

The vaccines arrived at the CJIA onboard a Caribbean Airlines flight from Canada.  Guyana is the first country in the Caribbean to have received a donation of COVID-19 vaccine from China.

Vaccine safety

In response to a query about the safety and effectiveness of the Sinopharm vaccine, Dr. Anthony said that scientific studies have shown that it has a low number of side effects. Further, the manufacturer of the vaccine is one of the largest producers and distributors of vaccines globally.

“On an annual basis, Sinopharm probably makes more than a billion vaccines and they have been supplying vaccines globally. So, they’re not a new kid on the block when it comes to vaccines, they’ve been doing this for a long time,” he said.

The Sinopharm vaccine has shown a 79.4 per cent effective rate in some clinical trials while in others, the rate is higher. The Minister said it is “a very effective vaccine” and compares favourably to the other Covid vaccines on the market such as the Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca.

“From all that we’ve seen, all the scientific data that we’ve seen, the side effects for this vaccine is very minimal. And therefore, there should be absolutely no reason why people don’t take the vaccine,” he said.

The vaccine is also currently being considered by the World Health Organization for emergency approval. Minister Anthony also noted that the COVAX facility, which only accepts vaccines of the highest standards, will be receiving 11 million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine from China.

Adding to the Minister’s comments, the Chinese Charge d’Affaires gave assurances that the Government of China is serious about vaccination development and conducted scientific research over a long period of time. He said the Sinopharm vaccine has been put through three phases of trials in numerous countries and “the quality of the vaccine is guaranteed.”

Additionally, he said the vaccine has been administered to over 40 million Chinese nationals, including high ranking government officials.

Minister Anthony appealed to the public to take the vaccine once the opportunity arises. The elderly and people with comorbidities are next in line to receive the vaccine. Once the Ministry has sourced sufficient quantities, teachers would be next in line to benefit, in keeping with the Government’s efforts to safely reopen schools.

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Caribbean News

Barbados to Host 41st Caribbean Travel Marketplace this Spring



By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer



#Barbados, February 2, 2023 – Barbados has been selected to host the 41st edition of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s (CHTA) Caribbean Travel Marketplace. The event will be held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre in Bridgetown from May 9 -11, and it is expected to build on the success of the 40th staging held in Puerto Rico last fall.

CHTA President Nicola Madden-Greig, who made the announcement recently, said it’s the first time in the organization’s history that the association’s largest annual event, which brings together buyers and sellers of the region’s tourism products and services, will be staged in Barbados.

“CHTA has a very strong relationship with both public and private sector stakeholders in Barbados, and as we position the region’s top earner for robust growth this year, we are delighted to lock arms with our Bajan partners to drive business to the Caribbean,” she stated.

Noting that: “This year’s Marketplace will also provide unique access to the Eastern Caribbean for buyers and tour operators as the region places a strong focus on the revival of multi-destination travel.”

Minister of Tourism and International Transport of Barbados Ian Gooding-Edghill, said the Barbados tourism industry was undergoing a major renaissance in the post-COVID environment, and the timing could not be better to welcome Caribbean Travel Marketplace to local soil.

“We are honoured to host such a preeminent gathering of tourism stakeholders from around the world,”  Minister Gooding-Edghill said, noting that the meeting aligns with Barbados’ value offerings, which appeal, among others, to the very important MICE [Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions] market.

The launch of the first Caribbean Travel Forum & Awards, a highlight of the Puerto Rico meeting, will return for a second edition and will be held in Barbados on Tuesday, May 9, 2023, ahead of the official opening ceremony of Caribbean Travel Marketplace.

The Forum will also focus on the business of tourism, and business appointments will be conducted on Wednesday, May 10 and Thursday, May 11.

Over 150 delegates, including Ministers of Tourism and key private sector leaders, engaged in the Caribbean Travel Forum last year.

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Bahamas News

National Food Policy to be created in the Bahamas



By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer



#TheBahamas, February 2, 2023 – A new initiative by the Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs in the Bahamas will see the creation of a National Food Policy geared towards ensuring food security on the island.

“This agricultural policy would encompass a holistic approach and incorporate regulations, legislation, and other aspects to assist the farmers who have not really gotten the attention they deserve for a long time,” said the Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs, Hon. Clay Sweeting.

Other initiatives within the agriculture sector will also be implemented, such as the digitalization of applications and forms, which will make farming more efficient.

Clay said, “we have already digitalized for the most part the Department of Marine Resources and soon we will unveil new services such as dog licences, import permits, and other services needed for a successful agricultural sector.”

The construction of the Cultivation Centres (TCC) in Eleuthera and New Providence with produce exchange, food processing kitchens and farm stores will continue.

Sweeting said he hopes these initiatives will help to decrease the country’s yearly $1 billion food import bill.

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Caribbean News

Guyana secures cryotherapy machines to help fight cervical cancer



By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer



#Guyana, February 2, 2023 – Guyana will see a significant boost to its healthcare system soon as the health ministry has acquired 20 cryotherapy machines to help treat and prevent cervical cancer, the second most prevalent cancer among women in the country.

Cryotherapy, also known as cold therapy, involves cooling the body’s tissues for therapeutic purposes and removing the abnormal tissue. This type of therapy is also used to treat many skin conditions and some cancers, including prostate, cervical and liver cancer.

The Health Ministry said the machines will help clear the backlog of patients needing such treatment.

Director of the Non-Communicable Diseases Programme of the Health Ministry, Dr. Latchmie Lall, said the equipment will be very instrumental in providing immediate service to patients.

“We are indeed very thankful for this donation of cryotherapy machines that were brought through the IDB project; a total of 20 machines that are going to be used to improve our screening services for cervical cancer; this will come as a great measure for not only screening but to provide immediate medical treatment in that if we do find a pathological cervix, cryotherapy can be applied immediately, and we have one healthy patient going back home to her family,” Dr. Lall said.

Director of Primary Healthcare Services, Dr. Ertensia Hamilton, said the equipment comes at an opportune time when the ministry is extending its services for women of reproductive age across the country.

“We recognise that Guyana still has a high incidence of cervical cancer in our women, and so we want to be able to have services available to them as we work towards ensuring that each individual across their life course has services to meet their medical needs,” she said.

Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony, during his comment, revealed that Guyana is trying to develop a comprehensive programme for cervical cancer.

“One of the things that we are trying to do is to have a comprehensive cervical cancer programme. The first level will be to prevent cervical cancer. We want to do that by encouraging people to get the HPV vaccination. We have these vaccines available. We have been rolling them out to ensure that every person eligible for these vaccines gets them.”

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