#TurksandCaicos, April 3, 2021 – The Governor of Turks and Caicos Islands “confidently predict more deaths” in the coming days due to the ever-increasing new Covid-19 infections and deaths. Speaking during the first Covid-19 anniversary on March 23, Nigel Dakin expressed his fear of a possible high, future death rate in TCI if the Islanders do not take the responsibility to get vaccinated.
“I confidently predict more deaths, there is no reason to think any other way. The restrictive measures we have in place clearly are reducing contagion but not eliminating it, and those catching the virus are becoming more likely to die,” said the Governor.
While the government can impose a raft of new stringent measures, including total lockdown, business shutdowns, and curfews, HE Dakin emphasised that TCI residents can take the precaution and go for the readily available vaccines instead of having the country shut.
“There is no action Government can now take – in terms of restricting your behaviours or closing down parts of the economy that offers the protection that an individual can now take, themselves, by taking the vaccine,” added Governor Dakin.
Even though pleased with TCI residents who were on the frontline in the fight to keep the country safe, the Governor expressed his displeasure at the flattening curve of people taking vaccines when they need it the most. And with such behaviour, there is a great risk of overrunning the hospitals, which are already strained.
With “an extraordinary roll out of the vaccines – efficiently delivered and administered” and the high chances of those who contract the virus dying, the Governor revealed that TCI has got a golden opportunity that other Caribbean countries admire. But they aren’t lucky enough to have it.
Even more worrying, there’s already a warning of a possible vaccine shortage. Those who shall not have seized this opportunity to normalcy may not get any other opportunity to get after the vaccine supply stops.
“This future is ours to have if we have the collective courage to seize it. Please (please) register for the vaccine and, more than that, encourage those you care about to do so too. This is a moment for all of us to be leaders and recognise that the power of one, the power of individual decision making, has the power to change these Island’s future,” the Governor concluded.
As of March 2, 12,935 persons have been vaccinated, without any incident, which is 34 per cent of our population; and that was a good start!
TCI Governor, Nigel Dakin and his wife, Mandy were the very first to take the Covid-19 vaccine in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
New COVID boosters get EMERGENCY USE thumbs up
September 19, 2023 – The old bivalent vaccines are out and a new 2023-24 formula for residents 6 months and over, has been approved for use by the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC). The emergency use authorization comes as the CDC tries to protect the population against the latest variants and flu season approaches.
These vaccines contain the XBB.1.5 component, one of the offshoots of the Omicron variant and should be ready in time for fall. But concern is being expressed not just in the United States but in the UK and other countries over the emergence of the variants Eris (EG.5) and Pirola (BA.2.86).
Though XBB.1.5 is no longer the most circulating variant, they are related and the FDA says the vaccine neutralizes them (including EG.5 and BA.2.86) efficiently.
Pirola, as the variant is referred to online, is being watched closely because it is extremely mutated.
“The public can be assured that these updated vaccines have met the agency’s rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality. We very much encourage those who are eligible to consider getting vaccinated,” they FDA said.
It means the older Moderna and Pfizer bivalents are no longer authorized for use in the country. The two manufacturers are also the only ones approved to distribute the newer doses.
Approval has also been granted in the UK for a new shot that targets XBB 1.5. but only Pfizer has secured that nod.
Eleuthera Medical Center Marks 5 Years, Private community clinic ‘grows with the demand’, adds Dental and Dermatology to slate of services
#Eleuthera, The Bahamas, September 19, 2023 – A Family Island clinic that started with a vision to serve the community with the best in private medical care and wellness regardless of a patient’s financial standing celebrated its fifth anniversary this month, announcing new services it said were those most strongly requested by patients.
Eleuthera Medical Center (EMC), the flagship of Bahamas Wellness Health Systems, marked its anniversary adding dental and dermatology to its growing list of medical specialties that includes primary wellness, vision, gynecology and pediatrics. Some services are offered on an ongoing daily basis provided by physicians at one of Bahamas Wellness Health Systems (BWHS) four clinics, others are offered on a rotating basis by visiting medical specialists and associates on a regularly scheduled rotating basis.
“When we opened our doors to this clinic in 2018, we knew there was a need for full-time medical care and especially attention to wellness in Eleuthera,” said EMC and Bahamas Wellness Health Systems founder Dr. Arlington Lightbourne. “But we underestimated how appreciative the community would be that there were always physicians on call, that in the case of an emergency we could respond, that we provided an ambulance and emergency care saving patients from having to be airlifted to Nassau or beyond.”
Lightbourne said the years have not been without challenges.
“For nearly 18 months, we endured COVID, conducting testing outdoors, trying to keep our spirits strong and staff well so they could care for others and yet in a small community like Eleuthera where you know someone in everyone’s family it’s hard not to feel the pain and suffering others feel,” said Dr. Lightbourne. “But we doubled down and said we are here for the long haul and whatever the path is to provide the best in care, to make that care affordable and to improve the wellness of the community overall, that is the journey we are on, and it has been an incredibly rewarding one.”
To support that emphasis on wellness, the clinic located in the settlement of Palmetto Point adjacent to Governors Harbour in the heart of central Eleuthera, offers regularly scheduled lectures and town meetings with a nutritionist and wellness expert who is part of the team. Lightbourne’s interest in well-being stems from his work in Emergency Care at both PMH and Doctors Hospital where the vast number of cases he treated were the result of non-communicable diseases and conditions including heart attacks, high blood pressure and cancer related to lifestyle – poor diet high in fats and low in nutrition and lack of proper physical exercise.
Today, he said he is seeing more interest in preventative care, a sign that Bahamians learned from Covid and its aftermath that wellness matters.
“We have a brighter future ahead of us and I am proud of what we are doing in Eleuthera and our other clinics to make a difference in The Bahamas with careful diagnoses and individual attention to how people conduct their daily lives when it comes to their overall wellness,” said Lightbourne, now the deputy director of the Bahamas Medical Association and an authorized NHI provider.
BHWS also operates clinics in Nassau, Spanish Wells and Lower Bogue.
Photo Caption: The Hon. Clay Sweeting, MP, Central and South Eleuthera, welcomes the Bahamas Wellness Medical Center’s ambulance. He is pictured with Dr. Jessica Moss, Emergency Medicine Specialist and Vice President & Medical Director at Eleuthera Medical Center, and Dr. Arlington Lightbourne, founder of the expanding clinic, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary serving the community by adding dental and dermatology to its growing list of specializations.
MOHW Continues Measures to Fight against Dengue
NASSAU, The Bahamas – The Minister of Health and Wellness the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville led a team of health officials and technical experts during a National Press Conference on the Dengue outbreak in the country.
And, the ministry also confirmed the death of a nine-year-old boy from the mosquito borne illness, and updated on ongoing methods to mitigate the spread of the disease.
Also present were: The Hon. Vaughn Miller, Minister of The Environment and Natural Resources; the Hon. Zane Lightbourne, Minister of State, Ministry of The Environment and Natural Resources; Dr. Felicia Balfour-Greenslade, Head of the National Communicable Disease Surveillance Unit; Dr. Aubynette Rolle, Managing Director, Public Hospitals Authority; Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Pearl McMillan; Dr. Philip Swann, Registrar; and representatives of the Department of Environmental Health Services (DEHS).
At the time of the press conference, 88 cases of Dengue Fever were confirmed – the majority in New Providence, 80; 6 in Grand Bahama; 1 in The Berry Islands, and 1 in Exuma. The latter two had a history of travel from New Providence.
Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne tropical disease caused by the dengue virus. Symptoms typically begin three to fourteen days after infection. And, these may include a high fever, headache, vomiting, muscle and joint pains, and a skin itching and rash.
Dengue is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. Hence, the DEHS is asking the public to ensure no water receptacles such as bin covers; tyres are around their properties, which can turn into breeding ground for the vector. Moreover, the DEHS has mounted a “Fight The Bite” flash clean-up campaign as a form of mitigation.
Another measure being used by the DEHS is fogging in a half-mile perimeter of all suspected and confirmed areas. All properties within a half mile radius of every suspected or confirmed cases has been visited and physically examined for the presence of mosquito larva, and for water bearing containers. Where they exist, they have been discarded, overturned or treated.
The National Reference Lab is carrying out all testing for Dengue.
Dr. Darville also informed that all hospitals and clinics are on “high alert” as “we begin to up our game in our fight against Dengue.”
He added, “Our teams have been educated and trained to look for cases that are potentially dengue cases, activate immediately, go into the necessary medical history and communicate directly with our surveillance unit who works very closely with the Department of Environmental Health.
Dr. Darville confirmed that the ministry is not considering bringing in dengue vaccines because Dengue Fever is not an endemic disease in The Bahamas.
“We reached out to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to give us advice on the possibility of vaccines and based on what’s being discussed, we believe not being an endemic area sort of excludes The Bahamas from a national vaccination programme for Dengue,” he explained.
The country has learned “a lot” from the last two Dengue outbreaks in 2011 and 2014, Dr. Darville said.
Most people diagnosed with dengue fever have type three of the virus — a form of the disease that could cause severe illness if they previously had the first two serotypes of the virus.
Regarding the death of the nine-year-old boy, Dr McMillan said he presented with a viral type illness “but did not continue with the care that was provided and unfortunately, he succumbed to the illness. We later got the results back and we know that it was dengue.”
State Minister for Environment Lightbourne reported that teams will be deployed to the Family Islands this week to start fogging exercises as part of its mosquito control programme.
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