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CARPHA’s Position on the Use of Ivermectin to Treat COVID-19 Patients

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May 25, 2021 – The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) is urging Ministries of Health and clinicians to only use the medicine, ivermectin, under the conditions of well-regulated clinical trials for COVID-19, or for approved indications. This is a result of the limited evidence available to assure a favorable benefit-risk balance when used in treating patients with COVID-19. This is also reflected by the recommendations of the global health authority, World Health Organization (WHO). 

In its “Therapeutics and COVID-19: Living Guideline”, March 31, 2021, the WHO Guideline Development Group explains “The effects of ivermectin on mortality, mechanical ventilation, hospital admission, duration of hospitalization and viral clearance remain uncertain because of very low certainty of evidence addressing each of these outcomes.”  The WHO in its press release on ivermectin also noted that the current evidence is of “very low certainty,” due to the small sizes and methodological limitations of available trial data.

In light of this, Executive Director, CARPHA, Dr. Joy St. John says “I am aware that some countries have already begun to use ivermectin in the treatment of COVID-19, and others may be considering using the drug as a possible treatment.  However, CARPHA is urging our Member States to heed the current advice of the WHO, regardless of disease severity or duration of symptoms.”

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) “Living Update of COVID-19 Therapeutic Options Rapid Review” of May 6, 2021 notes that after review of 28 clinical trials “New evidence from randomized clinical trials was evaluated, however there is no change to the assessment that the medicine does not significantly reduce mortality and probably does not improve time to symptom resolution.”

Also recognizing the need for further research, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) states “Results from adequately powered, well-designed, and well-conducted clinical trials are needed to provide more specific, evidence-based guidance on the role of ivermectin in the treatment of COVID-19”.  According to the NIH, ivermectin is an antiparasitic drug that is used to treat several neglected tropical diseases, including scabies. Furthermore, ivermectin is not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of any viral infection.

CARPHA does not support the use of ivermectin outside of appropriately designed, well-regulated clinical trials for the treatment of COVID-19. Further CARPHA maintains that large randomised controlled clinical trials, with robust study design, meaningful endpoints, and significant results are essential to inform public health decision-making about treatments for COVID-19, as these are designed to rule out findings of benefits and risks that may appear due to chance.  

Bahamas News

FBI and Bahamas looking into woman’s death  

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Dana Malcolm  

Staff Writer  

 

 

#TheBahamas, March 17, 2023 – The FBI is investigating a woman’s ‘suspicious’ death on a Carnival Cruise ship in February.  The unnamed woman and her husband boarded the Carnival Sunshine on February 27th, for a trip to the Bahamas, but she was dead before they arrived in the port in The Bahamas.

The FBI said Carnival’s team had administered life saving measures when the woman was reported unresponsive, but they were unsuccessful.  The body and the woman’s husband were released to the Bahamian authorities when the cruise arrived in the country.  

In a statement shared with US media houses, Carnival Cruises claimed the death has been a natural one.  The Nassau Guardian said a source told them the police findings had concurred with that assessment saying it was a “normal sudden death of a tourist who wasn’t feeling well.” 

The FBI was waiting for the cruise and when it got back to South Carolina on March 4th, they immediately boarded and began to investigate the room based on ‘evidence of a crime.’  The FBI also searched the couple’s car.   

No updates have been shared to contradict the currently established cause of death.   

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Bahamas News

Why Sargassum Matters

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Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer 

 

 

#TheBahamas, March 17, 2023 – “If you don’t like it, go to another beach!” Is what Aaron John, an Education Officer from The Bahamas National Trust jokingly tells our news team about sargassum blooms; his quip, motivated by the necessity of nature when pit against the notion that there is a real threat when the stinky seaweed makes its annual appearance. 

John can admit, he says, that Sargassum isn’t very pretty but life isn’t all about aesthetics and in this instance that ugly patch serves a purpose. 

“We love our sandy beaches, but in order to keep them we need Sargassum. When storms come, they wash away all the sand off the beach but sargassum acts as a mulch to protect the sand from water erosion. It doesn’t look good, it doesn’t feel good but we need it.”

He said it also provides a habitat for small crustaceans, crabs, and insects that are all necessary to our ecosystem and islanders have  found use for the weed.

“Historically, (in The Bahamas) we have been using sargassum as fertilizer, especially in the family Islands as far back as I know,” he said. “Birds don’t go on the beach unless there is Sargassum and what do they do? they feed – it’s beautiful.” 

He encouraged residents to just leave it be if they came across it.

Sargassum isn’t harmful to humans, except for people with respiratory issues who may find the rotten egg smell triggers asthma. Despite this, it’s not advisable to walk through the weeds which may hide sharp rocks and bottles or vulnerable animals.

Experts say Sargassum blooms began to increase in size around 2011 and have continued to get bigger and bigger since. This year‘s bloom is around 5000 miles long and 300 miles wide and visible from space.

“I know it’s not a general outlook, but I would like to change the perspective on sargassum,” John said, pointing out The Bahamas National Trust is actively working to decrease alarm over the less worrisome events like sargassum as it raises the profile on the environmentally devastating. 

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Bahamas News

Lease agreement approved for diaspora office     

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Dana Malcolm  

Staff Writer 

 

 

#TurksandCaicos, March 17, 2023 – The Turks and Caicos’ Bahamas Diaspora Office is moving closer and closer to opening day, following the Cabinet’s approval for the signing of a lease agreement.  

The lease will be signed with FINCEN ltd in the Bahamas.  Several weeks ago, Arlington Musgrove, Minister of Immigration confirmed to our news team that the location had been found and was being finalized; now a lease is approved at the Cabinet level.  

The interest in the TCI from TC Bahamians was evident in the diaspora meetings held in early February.  The two meetings held in Nassau and Grand Bahama were completely full and over-subscribed by hundreds.  

It’s interest which the Government hopes will translate to real life population growth, bolstering the local population before the native population ‘goes extinct’.  

The Opposition PDM is on the record with what it feels is a far more viable solution to a dwindling native population; seek out the country’s own citizens and bring them back home. 

Cabinet did not state when the office will open. 

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