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TCI: International Nurses Day Messages



#TurksandCaicos, May 17, 2021 – “As Chief Nursing Officer for the Turks and Caicos Islands, I salute all nurses in their respective roles and place of work within the country. I do not have to remind you that we are living in unprecedented times; with the continued challenges of COVID-19, a disease that threatens our healthcare system, the health and wellbeing of our community and our local economy here in these islands and by extension the rest of the world.

Scientists, and medical professionals continue to grapple with strategies and research to determine best practices for fighting this global threat, to find a cure, or at least a preventative method which is effective in “freeing our smiles” from the daily restraints of the face masks, and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), which have become necessary measures to protect and preserve life in your field of work and at home. Increased demands have been brought about by the need for: continued contact tracing, clinical management of hospitalized patients, the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccination programme and community testing for COVID-19 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In spite of these increased challenges, you, the nurses of the TCI, continue to persevere, with a heart of love, care, commitment and dedication; working collaboratively with your medical colleagues, to provide quality care to residents and visitors to these Islands. I am extremely proud of you, and express my profound thanks for your outstanding and continued service. Most certainly, the COVID-19 pandemic increased the spotlight on our health care system and the need for nurses to become more involved in the critical role of planning for the future of healthcare in our country. May God continue to bless and protect you and your families, as you continue in your work for the future of our healthcare system, and may God continue to bless our beautiful Turks and Caicos Islands. Happy Nurses Day.”

Chief Nursing Officer, Mrs. Jackurlyn Sutton

 “I congratulate the Nurses of the TCI on the sterling work they have been doing and most notably their work during the COVID-19 pandemic. The theme chosen for this year is just as fitting as the theme for last year, “Nurses A Voice to Lead: A vision for Future Healthcare”.

You are without question the backbone of the healthcare system, and without you, we would not be able to offer Universal Health Care or Universal Access to health for our TCI population.  Nurses make up the largest cadre of health care personnel in the TCI, and I would like to reassure them that as their Minister of Health, I will make every effort to ensure that policies and strategies are implemented to strengthen nursing education in the TCI, thereby creating opportunities for our young people who wish to pursue their first degree in nursing and to be able to accomplish that success in the comfort of their home. I would also seek to advocate for continuous improvement in the working environments and remunerations for nursing professionals.

I empathize with those countries in the region and around the world who have lost members of the nursing workforce during this pandemic, but we are so grateful to God that none of you have been severely affected by this disease. I sincerely appreciate the commitment and dedication you have demonstrated particularly during the pandemic and wish you a blessed and meaningful Nurses Day.

 The Hon Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Human Services, Hon. E. Jay Saunders

 “It is with much gratitude that I salute nurses globally, regionally and especially those serving this great nation.  For many nurses in the TCI, it is our first pandemic and for others, it is certainly our longest.  In my address to nurses last December, I charged all of us to be thankful to God for his divine protection over the past months.  We have since completed a year and we are still under His cover; we have not lost any of our colleagues to this awful and selfish disease, we are all still here.  I thank each of you for your passion and drive, and I especially thank those of you who have suffered personal losses during this most difficult time, for staying the course.”

“Giving up was easy, but you didn’t. I am truly thankful for your resilience.  To my nurses in Primary Health Care, you know that my heart belongs to you. I love and appreciate you.  It is impossible for me to thank this small team for all that they do. You have been stretched beyond measures, but you have persevered.  Thank you for being Nightingales and Seacoles. I thank the families of these unsung heroes for giving them to this country to achieve what many great nations were unable to, with more resources.  We reflect on those that have gone on before, for allowing us to stand on their shoulders. I charge all of us to use this week to reflect on the past year; use the time to give thanks and to search ourselves to see how we can be better at doing what God has called us to do.  Happy International Nurses Day to you all!”

Alrisa Gardiner, Primary Health Care Manager  


TCI Health Launches COVID Booster Shot program



#TurksandCaicos, October 6, 2021 – The Turks and Caicos Islands launches its COVID-19 vaccine booster programme commencing on Monday 4th October 2021.  This comes following the approval by Cabinet, of the COVID-19 Booster Vaccine Strategy which was submitted by the Ministry of Health for consideration.

Members of Cabinet including the Governor, Deputy Governor, Honorable Premier, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health were in strong support of the vaccine booster strategy which will provide greater protection to those vulnerable individuals within the country who had previously been fully vaccinated more than six months ago and who are most at risk of severe effects of the disease.

The strategy is based upon the UK guidelines and focuses on priority groups who would benefit from a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. These groups are as follows;

1) Chronic non-communicable diseases clients

2) Elderly – Adults 50 years and over

3) Health care and frontline workers

4) Caregivers of the vulnerable

All persons in the groups listed above would have to have completed the two-dose series more than 6 months ago to be eligible for the booster dose of the vaccine. Eligible persons should reach out to their health care providers to schedule their booster dose.

The booster vaccine programme rolled out in the UK on 20.9.2021 and in the USA on 24.9.2021. On 9th September, Dr June Raine, Chief Executive of the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency), which regulates medicines, medical devices and blood components for transfusion in the UK, issued the following statement; “We know that a person’s immunity may decline over time after their first vaccine course. I am pleased to confirm that the COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer and AstraZeneca can be used as safe and effective booster doses. This is an important regulatory change as it gives further options for the vaccination programme, which has saved thousands of lives so far. The regulatory decision followed a careful review of available data on safety and effectiveness of booster or supplementary vaccine doses by the MHRA and the independent Commission on Human Medicines (CHM), which advises the government.”

The TCI is currently progressing on its fifth tranche of the vaccine which was received from the UK and anticipates the receipt of additional doses of the vaccine to support the ongoing roll out of the vaccine to all eligible residents as well as the booster programme.

The vaccine is critical to the ongoing national response to the COVID19 pandemic. The vaccines are safe and can prevent severe illness requiring hospitalization. All eligible persons are encouraged to get vaccinated to continue protecting themselves, their loved ones and the wider community. All eligible persons who are unvaccinated are encouraged to take the vaccine.


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JAMAICA: Bustamante Hospital for Children Gets Specialty Beds From Chase Fund



#Kingston, September 28, 2021 – A bed is one of the most important pieces of furniture in any healthcare facility and forms a large part of patient care and recovery.  The Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund, through a generous donation of $4.4 million, has gifted the island’s only public children’s hospital, the Bustamante Hospital for Children (BHC), with 15 specialty beds.

The beds will improve the standard of care received by patients and shorten recovery time, thereby increasing bed availability for new patients.

“Those beds were used a day after they were delivered and have helped BHC tremendously, because they came when we started to see an increase in the patients,” Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the BHC, Camile Wallen-Panton, tells JIS News.

“The BHC, unlike other hospitals, has not been badly impacted by the patient load due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), but at the same time we have seen a rise in other illnesses,”  she added.

Mrs. Wallen-Panton points out that the beds were allocated to the various wards and explains how they met the required bed specifications.

“The beds that we received were the right specifications. They have the required two-side rail that can be adjusted, and they also have safety wheels that can be locked to make the bed immobile. The beds are outfitted with an Intravenous (IV) stand and are beautifully coloured, which brightens the ward,” she notes.

The CEO shares that the donation was greatly welcomed by staff, patients and parents.

“It is very important that our local hospitals are fitted with adequate beds. You can see the added stress on the patients, parents and caregivers whenever there is a shortage of beds,” Mrs. Wallen-Panton says.

“Our patient load is always growing, and from time to time, furniture and equipment outlive their useful time and they must be taken out, so when an institution such as the CHASE Fund answers our needs, patient, parents and staff salute them. They have made a huge difference in how we serve,” she adds.

Mrs. Wallen-Panton highlights that the hospital administration believes continual improvements in patient care are crucial and welcomes partnerships and collaborations to achieve this.

“As the only dedicated children’s hospital that serves Jamaica and the other English-speaking Caribbean islands, the BHC has to be prepared at all times to accept referrals that require secondary care,” she explains.

“The hospital currently has 23 services, including emergency, medical and surgical, and the social services that cater to the holistic needs of the patients we serve, and we are always trying to find ways to improve on our service delivery,” she notes.

The CEO reiterates her appreciation of the CHASE Fund’s investment in the healthcare sector and wishes the entity success in all its current and future projects.

Acquisition of the beds for the BHC forms part of a larger project by CHASE Fund, valued at $110 million, to purchase beds for secondary-care institutions within the South-East Region.

The facilities include Kingston Public, Victoria Jubilee, Spanish Town,  Linstead, Princess Margaret and National Chest Hospitals, Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre, and Hope Institute.

Meanwhile, CEO of the CHASE Fund, Billy Heaven, tells JIS News that the donation of beds to hospitals, including the BHC, falls under the CHASE Fund’s Health mandate.

“In funding health projects, we are always mindful of how many people a project will benefit, whether it will improve access to healthcare and will result in better healthcare delivery and how our intervention can improve efficiency and the overall health system in Jamaica,” Mr. Heaven says.

He notes that the CHASE Fund is pleased to have aided the operation of the only specialist paediatric hospital in the English-speaking Caribbean, which sees approximately 70,000 patients per year, catering to children from birth to 12 years of age.


By: Colleen Dawkins




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Cuban Nationals Apprehended in Bahamian waters



#TheBahamas, June 24, 2021 – A group of Cuban Nationals are currently being detained at the Carmichael Road Detention Center after they were apprehended in the south west Bahamas by a US Coast Guard vessel earlier this week.

The fifteen individuals were captured after being sighted on Anguilla Cay on Tuesday 22 June. They were taken aboard the US Coast Guard Cutter, CHARLES SEXTON, and handed over shortly after 7:00 pm to the Defence Force patrol craft, HMBS DURWARD KNOWLES, under the command of Senior Lieutenant Jataro McDonald.

The Cubans were subsequently brought into the capital early Thursday morning, where they were handed over to the relevant authorities. The Cuban Embassy has since been notified. 

The Royal Bahamas Defence Force continues to maintain a vigilant presence while patrolling and protecting the territorial waters of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, and working with other law enforcement agencies.

Photos shows: Cuban nationals shortly after their arrival at the Defence Force Base, Coral Harbour on Thursday June 24, 2021. (RBDF Photo by Petty Officer Al Rahming)

 (For further information please contact the RBDF Public Relations Department or visit our website:, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and view our Youtube channel)




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