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Problems in Health Care Delivery



#TurksandCaicos, September 1, 2022 – I am very concerned about the lack of clinical services being made available to our citizens at both the Cockburn Town hospital, Grand Turk, and the Cheshire Hall Hospital, Providenciales. And when I investigated what clinical services are accessible in Grand Turk, it is extremely far less than being offered at Cheshire Hall.

A number of patients have brought to my attention the difficulty in getting an appointment to be seen, and many have expressed the feeling of being neglected. And as we all know that with health matters timing is everything. Early detection and early interventions almost always save lives and prevent future life-threatening complications.

During my time as Health Services Manager and before that as Laboratory Director, it had always been the target to have both Health Services locations properly equipped and staffed to tackle the citizens’ health needs. Both locations had identical equipment, and identical complement of staff, with a few variations in numbers. Grand Turk Location handled Salt Cay and South Caicos, and Providenciales location handled North and Middle Caicos.

When I was the Minister of Health, much progress was being made in the reestablishing of old community clinics, e.g.; the town clinic location in Grand Turk, and also returning Myrtle Rigby Health Complex location back to a health care facility for our people. The goal was, and still is, to have regular weekly specialist clinics with other needed services for all islands. Additionally, to have all community clinics equipped with basic laboratory testing abilities and imaging capabilities, i.e., blood electrolytes, red and white blood cell counts, glucose and cholesterol testing, blood nitrogen levels, urinalysis, and are equipped with portable x-ray abilities.  These technologies reveal extremely important and timely information on a person’s health status.

We all have to demand more from our health services providers, demand more accessibility, demand more diagnostic competency, demand more high dependency units, demand the availability of Intensive care capability (ICU), demand more attracting and retaining highly skilled personnel, demand increasing salaries of our health personnel. Hence, our people need to demand a high-performing health care system, “A Good Health System.”

A Peoples’ Democratic Movement government will recommence the work of enhancing our Health system to one that we all can be truly proud of, one which we have the most trust and assurance in.

So, what is the “good” health system that the PDM wants to develop for our people? A good system will be one that is organized in a way to ensure timely access to the highest attainable standard of care to all its citizens; one that has the right programs managed by competent well-paid professionals; one in which clinics provide constant preventive and curative care for the most common conditions, and primary health care in facilities or in the community where people live. A good health system under a PDM Government would ensure that our on-island hospitals deliver high-quality secondary or tertiary levels of care to increase the likelihood of desired health outcomes.

A PDM government is committed to continuing the work we started of ensuring our health services are:

  • Effective – providing evidence-based healthcare services to those who need them;
  • Safe – avoiding harm to people for whom the care is intended; and
  • People-centred – providing care that responds to individual preferences, needs and values.

To realize the benefits of quality health care, a PDM Government will also ensure that our health services are:

  • Timely – reducing waiting times and sometimes harmful delays;
  • Equitable – providing care that does not vary in quality on account of constituency/Island location, and socio-economic status, ethnicity;
  • Integrated – providing care that makes available the full range of health services throughout the life course, i.e. from newborn to old age.
  • Efficient – maximizing the benefit of available resources and avoiding waste.

From many personal testimonies from our citizens, it can be concluded that current health system is not serving our people well. We the PDM are confident that we can deliver the health care system that our citizens need and deserve.


Hon Edwin A. Astwood 

Leader of The Opposition

Bahamas News

7 million lives at risk because of salt 



Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 



March 24, 2023 – Without immediate and widespread efforts at curbing salt intake, 7 million lives will be lost by 2030 according to the World Health Organization.  The warning follows the first-ever Global Report on Sodium Intake Reduction, which revealed that the world would not meet its sodium intake reduction target of 30 percent by 2025 on its current path.

With only 5% of WHO Member States protected by mandatory and comprehensive sodium reduction policies, the rest of the world must immediately implement ‘highly cost-effective sodium reduction policies to protect against some of the most common non-communicable diseases.

No Caribbean country was mentioned in the group of nine countries with comprehensive salt laws, but Barbados is currently set to make effective stringent regulations to govern food consumption and food quality. 

Tedros Ghebreyesus, the WHO Director-General said: 

“Most countries are yet to adopt any mandatory sodium reduction policies, leaving their people at risk of heart attack, stroke, and other health problems. The WHO calls on all countries to implement the ‘Best Buys’ for sodium reduction, and on manufacturers to implement the WHO benchmarks for sodium content in food.” 

North America and the Caribbean have the highest child diabetes statistics in the world, with the second highest prevalence in adults as well. In Turks and Caicos in particular, over 300 hundred residents have failing kidneys, a number described as ‘alarming’ by experts. Kidney disease is fueled in most cases by diabetes and hypertension. 

The WHO is then advising Governments to do four things:

  • Reformulating foods to contain less salt, and setting targets for the amount of sodium in foods and meals. 
  • Establishing public food procurement policies to limit salt or sodium-rich foods in public institutions such as hospitals, schools, workplaces, and nursing homes.
  • Front-of-package labelling that helps consumers select products lower in sodium.
  • Behaviour change communication and mass media campaigns to reduce salt/sodium consumption.

With these measures in place, the salt reduction target can still be achieved, according to the WHO. 

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Caribbean News

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



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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A short look at Celery  



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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