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TCI: Oxygen Generator System installation starts this week



#TurksandCaicos, March 8, 2021 – InterHealth Canada-Turks and Caicos Islands Hospital in partnership with the Turks and Caicos Islands Government, continues to monitor and manage various critical resources that can affect the hospital’s capacity during the COVID-19 national response. These include the availability of hospital beds, personal protective equipment (PPE), human resources, and oxygen.

The installation of an oxygen generator system at the Turks and Caicos Islands Hospital is scheduled to commence this week. The project seeks to provide the hospital with the equipment to independently produce medical-grade oxygen and reduce the reliance on overseas suppliers.

The system design and layout process are underway, and the overall project is expected to span 10 to 12 weeks.

8 March International women’s day illustration

A duplex MDOCS 200 VSA oxygen generation system will be installed at both the Cheshire Hall Medical Centre on Providenciales and Cockburn Town Medical Centre on Grand Turk. During the installation process, the hospital can utilize an emergency provision to rapidly install an oxygen generator module if there are supply-chain difficulties encountered with the shipment of oxygen cylinders.

COVID-19 is a respiratory virus, and due to the nature of the disease, the virus can affect the lungs and impair a patient’s ability to intake sufficient oxygen. Therefore, oxygen is the mainstay of clinical therapy for patients admitted with severe COVID-19 disease, and for these reasons, piped oxygen demands are naturally higher during the pandemic.

The supply and consumption rate of oxygen is actively monitored in conjunction with the patient admission and discharge trends. Oxygen supply levels can fluctuate daily based on patient care needs and the length of inpatient stay for COVID-19 patients. Oxygen cylinders are ordered on a rotation cycle, and approximately 100 or more cylinders arrive from overseas every week to bolster supply levels. Liquid oxygen cylinders are also used, which provides the health care facility with an even higher storage capacity.

The project is government-funded, and InterHealth Canada, the hospital’s private health care management company, is specifically responsible for the coordination and logistics onsite. A robust phase of quality assurance checks was completed to ensure the requisite standards and technical specifications were met before the installation contract.

Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Agriculture and Human Services, Honorable Erwin Jay Saunders, stated: “The Ministry of Health (MOH) has been working closely with TCI Hospital since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that capacity was built at the hospitals to respond to this public health emergency, being the only secondary care facilities in the TCI. A joint plan of work was undertaken and funded by the TCIG and included the uplift of additional beds at both sites, including furniture, procurement of biomedical equipment and consumables for these beds, procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE), facilitating additional clinical staffing from Cuba as well as the development of a capacity to generate oxygen within the TCI for the first time.

Previously, the TCI has relied on the importation of medical-grade oxygen for use in the hospital and clinics. The oxygen generators were purchased and are in-country, and works are underway to install and commission these generators.

This initiative will be sustainable in allowing the hospitals to generate oxygen in the country during the pandemic and beyond and no longer rely on external sources. We are excited about this development and the partnership which has led to this point and look forward to the implementation of these devices as a part of the ongoing COVID-19 response.”

Chief Executive Officer at TCI Hospital, Dr. Denise Braithwaite-Tennant, stated: “This represents a tremendous achievement in our pandemic and disaster resiliency. The genesis of this project came about as a result of a task force commissioned in the early months of the pandemic.

The task force was led by PS Desiree Lewis, supported by specialist advisors from the UK and members of the hospital and team health. During the ensuing months, we conducted robust data analysis and scenario planning, and the outcomes are the hospital and system developments that are progressively being implemented by various project leads. It was also important that the oxygen generating capacity be present at both the Providenciales and Grand Turk facilities, which seek to build redundancy and resiliency. This is especially important when one considers that each facility for periods has to operate without the support of its sister facility during a disaster.

The project leads for the oxygen generator implementation are Ms. Florinda Talbot, MOH Contract Manager, and Martín Dawtry, our facilities General Manager and strongly supported by the AG Chambers. The project leads have all worked passionately with both the hospital and MOH teams to bring this new and potentially life-saving technology to the Islands and continue to do so as the contractor progresses the installation. It is through a collaborative and visionary relationship with the Turks and Caicos Islands Government that great successes are achieved for the community.” 

Chief of Medical Services at TCI Hospital, Dr. Dawn Perry-Ewing, stated: “The upscaling of TCI Hospital’s capacity to deliver care to patients during this pandemic makes the nation’s healthcare system even more resilient. This project is the result of a collaboration between the TCI Government and TCI Hospital. The welcomed arrival of the generators gives our operating team a wider margin of comfort as we can consistently provide a higher standard of care to our patients.”

Contract Manager at the TCI Government Contract Management Unit, Florinda Talbot, stated: “Hospitals all over the world realize that onsite oxygen generation provides a highly reliable and economical solution for their oxygen requirement. This includes directly supplying oxygen to the hospital’s in-house supply lines, filling cylinders to provide backup or supply for over-peak demands. I am elated to see that the TCI Hospital has arrived at this stage.”

General Manager of Facilities at TCI Hospital, Martin Dawtry, stated: “This is a great partnership initiative, which allows the health care facility to generate its medical grade oxygen, not only for this current pandemic but for future resilience. We will also have the ability to produce medical-grade oxygen to fill our cylinders to support oxygen needs for community clinics across the islands. The installation works will add to our existing long list of resources implemented at TCI hospital to improve patient care during this pandemic and support additional capacity.” 

Bahamas News

Sugar and salt tax campaigns gaining steam 



By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer 



February 7, 2023 – A global battle on sugar and salt is ramping up as the United States joins The Bahamas and Barbados in creating proposals for historic sugar and salt laws.

The country’s Agricultural Department for the first time in history, proposed a cap on the amount of sugar to be allowed in school meals.

The World Health Organization has found that North America and the Caribbean have the highest rates of childhood diabetes in the world and based on the International Diabetes Federation’s Diabetes Atlas we also have the second highest prevalence of Diabetes overall for all global regions at 14 percent  or 51 million people with a projected 24 percent increase in just 22 years.

Barbados, the United States, Canada, Haiti, Mexico, Belize and St. Kitts and Nevis are all suffering from incredibly high rates of diabetes.

Barbados and The Bahamas announced sugar taxes last month; the hope is to reduce the importation and sale of sugar and salt rich foods.

Advocates across the Caribbean including Jamaica, Trinidad, and others have been campaigning for sugar taxes in their own countries with support from the public.

Now the proposed nutritional rules for the United States would set firm boundaries on how much salt and sugar can legally be added to meals, setting a new standard as most food imports for countries like The Bahamas are from the US.

The plan for the US is expected to be rolled out by 2025.

The rules, are unapologetically an attempt to cut down incidences of diabetes and other diseases fueled by unhealthy diets, according to media reports.

For now, the quantities on sugar and salt additives is an idea waiting wider consultation.

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Eat Right, Live Right for Better Bones



By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer


February 7, 2023 – Broken bones hurt.  Ask anyone who’s had one, but did you know what you’re eating now may be setting you up for brittle and easily broken bones later in life?  Called a ‘silent disease’ Osteoporosis weakens bones and makes them prone to shattering and those affected may not know until it happens.   And for women, the risk is typically higher than in men.

It is the most common bone disease and the International Osteoporosis Foundation says worldwide, it is estimated to affect 200 million women – approximately one-tenth of women aged 60, one-fifth of women aged 70, two-fifths of women aged 80 and two-thirds of women aged 90.

The US Office of Women’s Health says women are more likely to get osteoporosis because:

  • Women usually have smaller, thinner, less dense bones than men.

  • Women often live longer than men. Bone loss happens naturally as we age.

  • Women also lose more bone mass after menopause with very low levels of the hormone estrogen. Higher estrogen levels before menopause help protect bone density.

Not only does the disease affect women badly particularly but treatment is often unavailable and not sought at all by women.  The IOF says “A survey, conducted in 11 countries, showed denial of personal risk by postmenopausal women, lack of dialogue about osteoporosis with their doctor, and restricted access to diagnosis and treatment before the first fracture result in under-diagnosis and undertreatment of the disease”

But the disease can result in fractures and breaks that cause extreme and lasting pain and mobility issues that limit the quality of life for those affected and even death.  Despite the fact that the disease mainly affects older women, avoiding osteoporosis is only something that women can do when they are younger.

Fueled by excess salt in our diets the disease thrives on unhealthy foods that attack bone health.  The  US National Institute on Aging says in order to combat it women should:

  • Eat foods that support bone health. Get enough calcium, vitamin D, and protein each day. …

  • Get active. Choose weight-bearing exercises, such as strength training, walking, hiking, jogging, climbing stairs, tennis, and dancing. …

  • Don’t smoke. …

  • Limit alcohol consumption.

While there are treatment options the best treatment is prevention.

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Bahamas News

New Director of PAHO Sworn In



#Kingston, Jamaica, February 6, 2023 – Director-designate of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Dr. Jarbas Barbosa da Silva Jr., was sworn into office on Tuesday (January 31), during a ceremony in the United States (US) capital, Washington DC.

He succeeds Dr. Carissa Etienne, under whose tenure he served as Assistant Director, and will commence his five-year term on Wednesday (February 1).

Dr. Etienne, a native of Dominica, demitted office after serving two five-year terms at the helm of PAHO, beginning 2012.

Dr. Barbosa, a Brazilian, was elected by delegates of PAHO Member States that participated in the 30th Pan American Sanitary Conference in Washington, last September.

He topped the field of five candidates, who included nominees from Haiti, Mexico, Panama, and Uruguay.

Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment, and Conference Vice President, Hon. Molwyn Joseph, presided over the ceremony, which was held at the Organization of American States (OAS) headquarters.

PAHO serves as the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for the Americas. Consequently, Dr. Barbosa has been appointed WHO Regional Director.

In his inaugural speech, Dr. Barbosa outlined five strategic pillars that he will be focusing on during his tenure.

These, he informed, were a commitment to help PAHO Member States end the COVID-19 pandemic in the Americas with the best tools available, particularly surveillance and vaccines; spearheading the application of lessons learnt from the pandemic to address the region’s vulnerabilities and better prepare countries to face new threats as they emerge; ensure timely and equitable access to health innovations for all countries; build resilient national health systems based on renewed and strengthened primary healthcare, and strengthening PAHO’s capacity to support Member States.

Dr. Barbosa expressed gratitude to Dr. Etienne, describing her as “my friend and mentor”, for allowing him to serve as her Assistant Director.   He noted that despite their coming from “countries that seem so different”, he was “always amazed at how similar our perspectives and approaches are”, adding that “I believe this is because, at heart, we are both guided by our commitment”.

Dr. Barbosa said he was “proud and excited” to be leading PAHO, pointing out that he was grateful to the Member States reposing confidence in him.

“I commit to serving PAHO to the best of my ability, guided by the knowledge and experience I have accumulated during my years working in public health,” he said.

Dr. Etienne, in her remarks, described Dr. Barbosa as an exceptional technical and scientific leader, with strong competencies in epidemiology, medicine, and public health.

She noted that these attributes were “substantially and solidly” displayed in his contributions to his country, PAHO, WHO and the global health community.

The outgoing Director said her successor has “excellent listening skills, a characteristic that is so critical for effective leadership”.

“As I demit this office and hand the steering wheel over to my esteemed friend and colleague [Dr. Barbosa], I am confident that the future of the organisation will be in good hands,” she stated.

This, Dr. Etienne added, “as you will bring to your new role, exceptional expertise [and] astute policymaking skills, together with pragmatism and wisdom drawn from your many years of experience gained in your home country, Brazil, as well as internationally”.

She also expressed gratitude to the Member States for affording her the “honour and privilege” to serve as PAHO Director and for their active support throughout the past 10 years of her tenure.

“I must [also] convey my sincerest thanks and appreciation to all PAHO personnel, past and present, for their unstinting dedication and persistent commitment to the mission of this organisation. Thanks also to the many donors and collaborators who believed in our mission – the Mission of PAHO – and stood by us,” Dr. Etienne said.

Several prominent local, regional, and global figures delivered congratulatory messages to Dr. Barbosa on his appointment.

Among them were Brazil’s newly elected President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Minister of Health, Hon. Nísia Trinidade Lima; United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra; WHO Director General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus; OAS Secretary General, Luia Almargo and PAHO Directors Emeritus – Carlyle de Macedo, Sir George Alleyene, and Mirta Roses.


Contact: Douglas McIntosh

Release: JIS

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