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COVID Vaccine 90 per cent effective at keeping you alive says Hospitals CEO

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#TurksandCaicos, August 27, 2021 – The wall of defence which approved vaccines had given to their takers has been compromised, significantly.  Health agencies around the world continue to warn that the efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines has been cut down, 30 to 60 per cent since the emergence and insurgence of the delta strain of the coronavirus.  While the continually changing facts about the virus and the vaccine have caused a boom in uptake, it has also resulted in increased skepticism about the integrity of information.

Doctors speaking to the Turks and Caicos general public however advise waiting or rejecting the vaccine is a dangerous posture to take.

Dr. Denise Braithwaite Tennant, CEO of the TCI hospitals  was, on Wednesday night during a press conference, adamant that the vaccine still holds up with an 88 per cent rate of keeping you out of hospital and an over 90 per cent rate of keeping you from dying as a result of this fittest and fastest mutation.

“Fifty-six per cent of those patients required high-flow oxygen to care for them along with our other therapies and 44 per cent required use of the ventilator. That is high.”

The Turks and Caicos Islands Government (TCIG) still struggles to reach its initial target of a 70 per cent vaccination rate, on the way to herd immunity of 85 per cent.  The marks are missed as vaccine interest has waned.

“Despite the accessibility of the vaccine throughout the country to residents, including 12 to 15 year olds the pace of the vaccine roll out has significantly slowed in recent weeks despite our best efforts.  An analysis of the data captured in our electronic immunisation register highlights that approximately 35.8 per cent of 16-24 years age group, 39.4 per cent having received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine,” said Dr. Nadia Astwood, TCI Chief Medical Officer (CMO).

The CMO informed this group is concerning as the youth are more likely to flout health protocols like mask wearing and are the ones populating social gatherings.  The CMO believes the high un-vaccinated rate has the potential to hurt a return to face-to-face learning at school.

“Persons in this age group need to come forward and be vaccinated to protect themselves as well as vulnerable persons who may be in contact with them.”

Dr. Braithwaite Tenant shared demographics of some of the more recent hospital cases including 60 per cent being under 60 years old, 70 per cent being women and 70 per cent having pre-existing conditions like hypertension, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.  Turks and Caicos hospitals has been supported by Government in a temporary human resource solution, as it struggles to identify long-term medical staff.

“We have the continued support of the Cuban brigade with us, which helps us with our buffer supply. We have had progressive recruitment of our nurses to hire. We’ve been in Canada, the UK however we have aggressive ongoing recruitment to replace these vacancies.”

The motivation for her passionate plea for residents to get vaccinated emerged from health report on the current situation in Turks and Caicos amidst what was confirmed as the “third wave” of the coronavirus.  Knowledge shared about the herculean task to get TCI residents to medical treatment abroad coupled with an over capacity Providenciales  medical facility are hoped to move more people to get the jab.

“I would like to thank the team at the National Health Insurance Board , who worked around the clock, under challenging circumstances to find ICU care and ICU beds for our patients when the hospitals in their networks were themselves, experiencing their own demands to provide care to their community,” she said as more light is now being shed on the chronic threat which exists to the Medical Treatment Abroad Program.

Dr. Denise Braithwaite-Tenant, informed her main facility is at 105 per cent capacity and while the majority of the beds are not taken up by Covid 19 patients, they are still full.

“You can see that during this pandemic with its peaks and troughs, bed capacity is often challenged as a result of the increased hospitalisations and surges.  It’s very important that you are aware and kept abreast because I hope this information will help you to make a decision about the Covid-19 vaccine  and the importance it plays – as Dr. Astwood mentioned earlier – in the reduction of hospitalisations and the saving of lives to protect our small, but very hearty health care system and hospital.” said Dr. Braithwaite-Tenant.

The Cheshire Hall Medical Centre (CHMC) located in Providenciales is a 20-bed facility; currently 21 of those beds were, up to Wednesday, occupied.  The Cockburn Town Medical Centre (CTMC) in Grand Turk is a 10 bed facility; 90 per cent of capacity is currently in use.  Both centres have sufficient oxygen supply, using the newly installed oxygen generation system which has been a major stride in TCI health care.

“However, we do have our expansion beds available both in our day room and our outpatient; extra beds have already been pre-deployed and they are available,” she said about the Providenciales hospital.

One of three COVID patients at the CHMC had to be medically evacuated; the remaining patients were undergoing oxygen and other therapies.  As many as eight have had to be put on ventilator, 56 per cent of the COVID patients have needed high flow oxygen and 70 per cent of those hospitalised with the coronavirus have been women.

Turks and Caicos is now with 69 active cases, nine of them new and all of those were identified in Providenciales.  There are two people hospitalised for the virus.

 

 

Health

Dengue Update Peru – Health Emergency Declared

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

#Peru#Dengue, February 28th, 2024 – The Government of Peru in response to the spike in Dengue cases, has declared a health emergency in 20 regions for 90 days. This was announced on February 26th at a press conference, according to a release from the Government. Additionally, to help fight the outbreak, over 160 million Peruvian soles or 42 million US dollars, has been proposed which will be allocated to various health operations.

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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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