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TCI: A Vaccination Story

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#TurksandCaicos, April 2, 2021 – Mr. Speaker, I can proudly stand here and say that I am fully vaccinated and I want to put it on record my gratitude to all those that have made the Pfizer BioNtech vaccine so readily available on our shores and who have been working tirelessly in its distribution.

Today I want to tell a short story.

I was recently a fly on the wall as I listened to my wife explain to my daughter, Maya what it will take for us to get back to “normal” in the TCI. She put the idea of 80% of the population being vaccinated into practical terms and highlighted that as a mother there are a lot of fears that she doesn’t have to take on that parents in the early 20th century or even as recently as 40 years ago had to take on.

One hundred years ago prior to MMR vaccines i.e. (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) there were millions of deaths of children yearly, and in 1918 about 5% of the world’s population was killed due to the Spanish flu Pandemic. We don’t have to worry about diseases like Polio because our children are vaccinated and in the rare occasion when they are not, the majority of the population has been vaccinated, which keeps them safe.

Just for a bit of context Mr. Speaker, I’m sure that the majority of us in this chamber and throughout the Turks and Caicos Islands have had the MMR, Polio and other vaccines during our childhood. We all can recall vaccination day at our schools where nurses would come in from the hospital to give us our shot and we all have the little scar on our shoulders to prove it. 

Mr. Speaker, We have been kept safe from many diseases because our parents and our grandparents did what they needed to do. Although this strain of COVID-19 is new, vaccinations are not.

Research on flu vaccines were being conducted before COVID hit and its rapid engineering was made possible because the world came to a standstill. There has never been the amount of resources devoted to any other vaccine development in such a short period of time ever, and that’s why we have the vaccine.

The WHO tells us that next to clean water, nothing has a bigger impact on saving lives than vaccines. Vaccines use our body’s natural defenses to build resistance to specific infections and make our immune system stronger.

So Turks and Caicos Islanders and all that call these beautiful by nature islands their home, please get vaccinated.

I am overjoyed to be part of the government that brought such joys with a stimulus, but know that the only way we can really and truly stimulate our economy, get our kids back to regular learning full-time, live freely is by getting our population vaccinated.

Mr. Speaker, waiting and seeing will not get us there. Waiting and seeing will delay progress and put not only ourselves at risk, but all those we love and care about so deeply.

Thank you Mr. Speaker

Caribbean News

PAHO Calls Americas to Increase Aedes aegypti Mosquito Control

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

 

#PAHO#Dengue#Americas, February 23rd, 2024 – With nearly seven thousand cases of dengue and 102 deaths reported in the Americas as of early February 2024, the Pan American Health Organization is once again calling for stronger measures to control the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the main transmitter of dengue. These numbers indicate a 157 percent increase in cases over the same period in 2023.  In the first five weeks of 2024, Peru, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Costa Rica, French Guiana, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay reported an increase in cases.

 

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Government

Ministry of Health and Human Services in Collaboration with UK Health Security Agency conducts Migrant Health needs Assessment  

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#TurksandCaicos, February 23, 2024 – The Ministry of Health and Human Services has partnered with a team from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) UK Overseas Territories (UKOTs) Public Health Programme to conduct a health needs assessment for communities in informal settlements throughout the TCI.  This project was funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and has taken place through a series of consultations and meetings in order to assess health needs and propose recommendations to address gaps in access to health care.

A steering committee supported the preliminary discussions on developing the scope and direction for the assessment and included representation from the TCI from Dr. Dawn O’Sullivan, Dr. Camelia Clarke (Director, Health Promotion and Advocacy Unit), Mrs. Aldora Robinson (Former Director, Health Promotion and Advocacy Unit) and Dr. Nadia Astwood (Chief Medical Officer).

This project culminated in an in-country visit by a team which included: Annabel Grieve (Programme Management Lead), Dr. Amoolya Vusirikala (Public Health Registrar) and Allegra Chatterjee (Epidemiologist) with earlier support provided by Dr. Natalie Wright, Health Protection Lead and Consultant in Global Public Health with the UK Overseas Territories, Global Operations. The visit, which began on January 21st 2024 and concluded this week, saw a number of in-person consultations with key stakeholders across sectors, as well as community focus groups conducted in Providenciales and Grand Turk.

Following the visit, the team paid a courtesy call to the Hon. Minister of Health and Human Services, Shaun D Malcolm and the Executive Team from the Ministry of Health and Human Services, to provide a high level debrief and presentation of the preliminary findings of the assessment. Following further analysis of the findings of the visit, a final report will be submitted to the Ministry of Health and Human Services which will provide a number of conclusions as well as evidence-based recommendations for consideration by the Government.

Commenting on the visit, Hon. Shaun D Malcolm stated that “we welcome this support from UKHSA and FCDO with whom the Ministry of Health has enjoyed a close working relationship and technical support over the years, to formally assess the health needs of this population in order to ensure that the overall health of our population can be addressed in a holistic manner to ensure that universal access to health care is addressed.”

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Caribbean News

Irish Humanitarian Organization in Haiti – Address Hunger Crisis and More

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

 

#Haiti#Crisis#ConcernWorldwide, February 2oth, 2024 – Seeing that Haiti’s humanitarian crisis worsens day by day with too many Haitians, hundreds of thousands, edging the line to severe deprivation of food, Ireland’s largest aid and humanitarian agency Concern Worldwide is addressing major food insecurity. 

 The organization in a release said “ “We are providing food assistance, via electronic vouchers to help families purchase food from local vendors so that they can feed their families and prevent malnutrition in children as the situation worsens.”

They are also working to provide Haitians with clean water and sanitation as the waterborne disease Cholera continues to threaten lives, killing more than 1,150 people in 2023.

And, they provide referrals for cases of sexual and gender based violence in Port au Prince.

Concern is supported by funding from USAID, receiving €2.1 million (euros) to help over 30 thousand people in the hunger crisis as well as €1 million (euros) yearly from the Irish Government for its work in Haiti.

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