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TCI: Health Minister to propose end to face coverings, younger vaccine takers at Cabinet

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#TurksandCaicos, May 18, 2021 – A proposal at the next Turks and Caicos Islands Cabinet meeting could dramatically alter health protocols for fully vaccinated individuals; it could also see the age for Covid-19 vaccines lowered to match the United States.

When cabinet meets on Wednesday it is the intention of Hon E. Jay Saunders, Minister of Health to present proposals for Turks and Caicos to end the need for face coverings for fully vaccinated individuals and to open vaccination to younger residents. 

Deputy Premier, E. Jay Saunders, in a one on one with Magnetic Media admits he personally finds ‘agreeable’ the new measures in the United States where face coverings are no longer required for some people and where younger people can take the vaccine.

Pfizer and BioNtech’s successful clinical trial of teenagers is concluded and its findings accepted.  The study enrolled 2,260 adolescents ages 12-15 and last week, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the shots for children from 12 to 15.

The vaccine in the TCI was already approved for residents as young as 16 years old.

While there are some who believe face coverings should be continued, as the pandemic is far from over.  There are more who express, fully vaccinated individuals need to experience some kind of ‘reward’ for their voluntary decision to respond favourably to Governments’ calls to take the new vaccine.

Already in Turks and Caicos there are perks for taking the vaccine.  Fully vaccinated residents are permitted to travel into the country on their (Turks and Caicos only) vaccination cards and businesses with all staff vaccinated are allowed double the capacity within their establishments.  Taxi Drivers who are vaccinated are also allowed to carry more passengers.

The US Centers for Disease Control still advises vaccinated people should wear masks on planes and trains, and at airports, transit hubs, mass transit and places like hospitals and doctor’s offices; perhaps TCI will take a similar stance.

Caribbean News

Women’s Health Connectivity and health a study for TCI’S benefit

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Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 

 

 

#TurksandCaicos, March 17, 2023 – As the country moves toward new fiber optic connectivity, bridging the digital divide could be a game changer for healthcare and other family-friendly services in the TCI. 

The power of universal digital connectivity across countries was one of the recurring themes when the United Nations in partnership with the Network of Afro Caribbean Women and the Diaspora recently explored how technology, innovation and education are being used to address women’s health issues. 

The session aimed to highlight success stories and  explore how those processes can be replicated to help women and girls globally including in The Turks and Caicos.  

The UN explained that despite holding a 70 percent majority in healthcare jobs, women are poorly represented in leadership roles and subject to systemic gender inequalities that can make receiving healthcare challenging.

As delegates from Chile and Rwanda, who were also partners in the session, shared the upgrades to their countries’ systems that had significantly improved the level of care available to their women, digital connectivity was a deciding factor.

In Rwanda the health ministries have begun to use drones to deliver medicine, SMS messages to alert about health threats and a completely digitized health care that eliminates paper documents for pregnant women and makes records accessible to any doctor,  immediately. 

Rwandan delegate, Rose Rwabuhihi shared tips that countries should keep in mind when trying to implement new processes to benefit women and the wider community.

  • Partnership and sustainability are key factors to successful programs. She urged governments not to give up on projects or allow their partners to give up on them halfway.
  • Education campaigns to introduce residents to the technology: “We need to build skills and deepen the knowledge so they can use the innovations that have been put in place especially in rural areas.

Poor connectivity and technological issues have plagued the TCI for years especially in the islands outside of Providenciales.  Government has substantially acknowledged this disparity in communications services and is investing in a new undersea cable to augment services in the Turks and Caicos.

The UNs perspectives can now ignite a fire for even more family friendly, digital services.

In fact,Senator Yasna Provoste Campillay, the Chilean Delegate explained how connectivity and videoconferencing had been used to reach the county’s women in the most rural of areas. Chile is a long country, its landmass spread lengthwise creating unique communication challenges. While healthcare in Chile is separated by length the Turks and Caicos islands are disconnected by the ocean and solutions that prove useful for the South American country could well be worth implementing  locally. 

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Education

A short look at Celery  

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Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer     

 

 

March 17, 2023 – Celery is a great food for people trying to lose weight or just put healthy meals on the table. It’s mostly made up of water and with only ten calories per stalk, you can add it into juices, salads, stir frys and more, without worrying about large amounts of sugar.  

There are other health benefits as well. Healthline says it is rich in antioxidants, reduces inflammation, supports digestion and it can help with heartburn from spicy foods! 

TCI farmers have hopped onto the celery train and the nutritious vegetable will be available to purchase, in a debut for celery, at the Farmers Market this Saturday March 18th from 8:30 am to 1pm.  

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Caribbean News

WHO Ranks Air Quality, Grenada ranks high others not measured 

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By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer  

 

 

 March 17, 2023 – A new air quality report from IQAir claims only six countries met the World Health Organization’s Guidelines on Air quality in 2022, Australia, Estonia, Finland, Grenada, Iceland and New Zealand but the Northern Caribbean was almost totally excluded from the list.  

There were no results for The Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica, Haiti or Cayman. The blame for that though may lie with the countries themselves.  IQAir said there were major gaps in government-operated regulatory instrumentation in many parts of the world. The organization revealed that it was citizens who were picking up the slack. 

“Low-cost air quality monitors sponsored and hosted by citizen scientists, researchers, community advocates, and local organizations, have proven to be a valuable tool to reduce the massive inequalities in air monitoring networks across the world, until sustainable regulatory air quality monitoring networks can be established,” it said.  

It may be time for more Northern Caribbean Governments to look into outfitting their countries with air monitoring devices for the health of their residents. 

The Caribbean countries including Trinidad, Barbados, the US Virgin Islands etc, that did make the list, ranked very low in the pollution index with air quality just outside the WHO standards and much better than most major cities, except Grenada, which ranked in the bottom six which for this list means best in class.  

The WHO measures air quality based on how much fine particulate matter and other basic pollutants are in the air.  

Aidan Farrow, Air Quality Scientist at Greenpeace International said, “Too many people around the world don’t know that they are breathing polluted air.  Air pollution monitors provide hard data that can inspire communities to demand change and hold polluters to account, but when monitoring is patchy or unequal, vulnerable communities can be left with no data to act on.”  

The report is now encouraging citizens to take air pollution into their own hands and not wait for their Governments to attack the issue.  

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