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TAP Medical Care Network not ‘subpar’ says Health Minister

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 30, 2022 – Jamell Robinson, TCI Health Minister is urging residents not to be deterred by their perception of the country to which they are sent for medical care through the Treatment Abroad Program (TAP). Robinson explained that the TAP works in a specific way, and the goal is to deliver medical services which improves lives.

A person must be referred for overseas care by a local doctor, private or public. Once they are referred to a facility overseas, a Joint Referral Committee comprising members of the TCI Hospital and the National Health Insurance Board reviews the referral.  With the overseas trip confirmed, there is communication within the regional network of doctors and hospitals to see if the case can be accommodated. If it can’t be accommodated in the Caribbean that case then goes outside the region to Columbia, any failure there results in TCI employing the extended network which includes the United States.

“Generally speaking the NHIB provides great flexibility on the location within the primary network.” He said, “So if they select the Dominican Republic and would prefer to go to Jamaica, no big deal they’ll send you to Jamaica.”

Robinson explained that while the TAP was very flexible for contributors who wanted to go to a specific place, he reminded that the Ministry of Health and the National Health Insurance Board would not send patients to subpar institutions anywhere in the world.

“Remember we are not sending you to a country. We’re sending you to a specific facility.  Unfortunately, when we get into the ‘choice thing’ that we do accommodate, most times, it isn’t because of the healthcare that is provided at the specific facility. It’s usually because of the view of a person has of that country. If [the hospital] is in the Amazon Rainforest and it has the healthcare you need, if it was a part of the network that’s just the best location.”

Robinson said people in the TCI usually want to use the advanced network especially in the United States but he explained that the process to choose all the hospitals was extremely thorough and NHIP contributors would always get the best care despite the cost.

“With the way facilities are reviewed and graded so to speak within the network you have at least three options for pretty much every particular procedure that can be done within the network. So if it’s heart surgery then a particular institution would be the number one choice. That doesn’t mean other institutions can’t do that same procedure.”

Currently the NHIB covers all costs for international procedures including airfare for the patient; sometimes there is financial support to an accompanying loved one with the patient and funds are made available to cover partial costs of accommodations.

“At no point will anyone not have access to the healthcare that they need and that’s a very important thing to know,” Minister Robinson maintained.

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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