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Free community testing makes back to school easier



By Deandrea Hamilton

Staff Writer


#TurksandCaicos, February 7, 2022 – Community testing on the weekend ahead of a return to face to face learning for thousands of Turks and Caicos children looked a lot younger, and the free opportunity was a blessing.

“It’s very important, especially for me because I have a lot of kids, so if I had to pay for each one of them, I think the cheapest service privately is $30, so that’s one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight times thirty. That’s a lot of money so it’s very important,” said Takera Francis, who brought a cute troop of children at the Carolina Medical Center in down town Providenciales for the free testing.

Some schools have asked for children to be tested and for parents to present a negative Covid-19 test result prior to reentering the school campuses and classrooms on Monday.

“So we came to get them tested to come back in school to make sure that they are COVID-free and to also protect other students and teachers as well,” said Ms. Francis.

Turks and Caicos is into phase four of its roadmap to reopening schools and Ms. Francis confided that she felt comforted by the request from her school to have children screened. She is ready for children to return to face to face learning.

“If we could go to work, why they can’t they go to school?” she questioned.

From the children who hopped into the chair one by one, there was some hesitation, some fidgeting and nose rubbing in the testing process, but it was smooth, easy and digitized.

“If they wanted to go back to school, they needed to get tested.”

Results were snappy and evidence of the result was e-mailed to those who turned out.

Saturday’s free community testing was conducted by Carolina Medical Clinic, with testing kits provided by the Turks and Caicos Ministry of Health.  Omni Care Medical held one in the same area in early January.

Free community testing, hosted by the Turks and Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association continues at the Harvest Bible Chapel on Leeward Highway east on Mondays from 9am to noon and Thursdays at the Church of St Monica.

Over the weekend, a special testing center was set up for eastern residents by the TCHTA at the Blue Haven Resort.

Rachel Taylor, TCI Minister of Education during her January 27, House of Assembly ministerial statement, announced that the majority of schools in the country will return to face to face education on January 31.

All schools with student populations under 200 children were approved to convene fully. Those with more students enrolled were to run a hybrid programme, making allowance for a return of all sixth graders at the primary school level and fourth, and fifth formers in the high schools to get back to full face to face learning.

The Omicron strain of the Coronavirus put the brakes on face to face learning to begin the 2021-2022 second semester, with TCI peaking at over 800 active cases in January.  Figures have since dropped dramatically and in the first week back to in person learning for most students, there have been no reports of outbreaks of Covid-19.

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Caribbean News

The CPHA Signs Memorandum of Understanding with the CHTA and the CTO for Healthier Safer Tourism



Nassau, The Bahamas.  The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) and the Caribbean Tourism Organization renewed their collaboration through the signing of a third Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

The MoU will enhance the synergies between the three organisations, for collectively addressing health safety and environmental sanitation threats to the tourism sector to promote healthier safer tourism in the Caribbean.

Within the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding, CARPHA, CTO and CHTA will focus on

  • Information Monitoring and Response Systems to provide timely alerts of public health events to support health surveillance and response efforts within the tourism sector;
  • Hospitality, Health, Safety and Environmental Standards and a Recognition System to establish a credible and affordable regional and recognition system for improving health, safety and environmental quality in the tourism establishments;
  • Health and Wellness Programmes in the Tourism Workplace to encourage and promote a healthy tourism workforce;
  • Multi-sectoral tourism and health partnerships to address the critical link between health and tourism

The collaboration also reflects the parties’ commitment to the recognition of the respective roles of the CTO and CARPHA as the leading public-sector agencies in the Region with a focus on matters related to regional tourism policy, planning and development and regional public health; and the CHTA as the region’s foremost private sector tourism organisation with a focus on the regional hospitality industry.

CARPHA has maintained consistent partnerships with CHTA and CTO, having previously signed Memoranda of Understanding in 2014 and 2017. The Agency, in collaboration with the CHTA and CTO conducted 23 COVID-19 Prevention and Control Training Sessions in which 5257 persons received training from June 2020 to April 2023. 

This five-year MoU further focuses on the relationship between the three organisations, towards establishing resilience and sustainability of the region’s tourism product through the collaborated execution of the Regional Tourism and Health Program.

The signing took place on 24 April 2023, as part of the Regional Tourism and Health Steering Committee and Stakeholders Meeting which was conducted ahead of CARPHA’s 67th Annual Health Research Conference at the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort, The Bahamas.

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Bahamas News

Universal Healthcare Coverage Cited as a Big-Ticket Item at 76th World Health Assembly in Geneva



#TheBahamas, May 23, 2023 – Health & Wellness Minister the Honourable Dr. Michael R. Darville, in a pre-assembly interview, has forecast that Non-Communicable Diseases, Universal Healthcare Coverage, areas associated with the pandemic and Anti-microbial Resistance are some of the hot-ticket items on this year’s agenda at the 76th World Health Assembly. Minister Darville who is heading a delegation from The Bahamas comprised of representatives of the Ministry of Health & Wellness, the Public Hospitals Authority and the National Health Insurance Authority cited universal healthcare coverage as a major pillar of the Geneva discussions as the intention is to put it in place globally by the year 2030. He said the government equates the provision of healthcare services with equity across the Bahamas as a priority. This he said will become even more evident when the Parliament moves on new legislation to repeal the old National Health Insurance Act.

The Opening session of the 76th World Health Assembly takes place on Sunday May 21st in Geneva, Switzerland. This year’s Assembly is being held under the theme Saving lives, driving health for all, and it comes as the WHO celebrates its 75th anniversary.

The World Health Assembly (WHA) is the decision-making body of WHO. It is attended by delegations from all WHO Member States and focuses on a specific health agenda prepared by the Executive Board. The main functions of the World Health Assembly are to determine the policies of the Organization, appoint the Director-General, supervise financial policies, and review and approve the proposed programme budget. The Health Assembly is held annually in Geneva, Switzerland.


Press Release: Ministry of Health & Wellness

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Bahamas News

Prime Minister Davis breaks ground for premier medical facility in Grand Bahama




#TheBahamas, May 19, 2023 – Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Philip Davis led a delegation to Grand Bahama for the historic groundbreaking and contract signing ceremony for the $210 million Freeport Health Campus on Tuesday, May 16, 2023.

The premier hospital will sit on 50 acres of land and will offer primary, tertiary and acute care for residents of Grand Bahama and the northern Bahamas.

The project, which is being funded by the World Bank, is set on the Greenfield site, and will be carried out in three phases, with Phase 1 set to be completed by the end of 2024.

In delivering the keynote address, Prime Minister Davis said the occasion is an extraordinary one for residents of Grand Bahama and the city of Freeport. It will initiate the construction of an outpatient and urgent-care facility that will cater to the needs of Grand Bahamians and residents in the Northern Bahamas for generations to come.

He said it is particularly noteworthy that this endeavour begins during a year when Bahamians nationwide, and around the globe, commemorate the golden anniversary of our national independence.

“This significant juncture in our nation’s history offers an opportunity for introspection on a remarkable progress we have achieved in terms of our development, culture and economy,” he said.

Prime Minister Davis revealed that the realization of a new hospital for Grand Bahama is more than 15 years in the making,

“At this new health-care centre, wounds will be healed, medical research will be advanced, lives will be rebuilt and the Grand Bahama Health Services will be positioned to provide the highest standard of care now and into the future as a long-awaited vision is now at last becoming a reality,” he said.

Minister of Health and Wellness, the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville, who has practiced medicine in the nation’s second city many years, pointed out that it has been a long journey for him and many residents in Grand Bahama.

“We all know the challenges we that we currently face with the Rand Memorial Hospital and the services provided here.  From government to government, we’ve been tagging along, trying to do our best and the time has finally come after years of hard work,” he said.

Dr. Darville noted that there have been many before him who worked diligently on the plan to bring us to the special occasion.

“The first phase of our project will be the establishment of a close to 60,000-square-foot facility that will be usable as Phase 1B of the project is initiated and the final phase initiated simultaneously,” he said.
He further revealed that the new state-of-the art facility will have an oncology centre, which is crucial for the people of Grand Bahama who have had to go off island for years to undergo chemo therapy treatment.

Speaking to the government’s commitment to establishing and transforming healthcare delivery services throughout The Bahamas, Minister Darville also announced that the final drawings for the construction of nine new clinics have been completed and renovations on 41 clinics are also underway.

Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey congratulated Dr. Darville who has been relentless in pushing for the project for at least a decade, and thanked Prime Minister Davis for his commitment to the healthcare needs of the people of Grand Bahama.

“Today we begin the first phase of building a new hospital on our island to support the growing demand for accessible, quality healthcare services to address the needs of residents and visitors alike,” she said.



Header – Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Philip Davis led the charge during the groundbreaking ceremony for the newest healthcare facility, the Freeport Health Campus, on Grand Bahama on Tuesday, May 16, 2023.

Insert – Grand Bahama residents, Cabinet minister, healthcare professionals and Grand Bahama residents attended the historic ceremony for the groundbreaking of a new healthcare facility on the island of Grand Bahama on Tuesday, May 16, 2023.

(BIS Photos/Andrew Miller & Jamika Culmer)


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