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Ministry of Health Opens Mental Care’s Center for Hope

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By Deandrea Hamilton & Dana Malcolm

Editorial Staff

 

#TurksandCaicos, December 9, 2022 – For the first time in history The Turks and Caicos islands has a designated mental health facility and Dr. Alicia Malcolm, director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Dependence has the keys to prove it.

The all new Center of Hope opened with flair on Thursday December 8.

For now the Health Ministry says the facility can accommodate a maximum of 30 individuals and is ‘specifically designed for persons with mental health or substance use disorders that require:  residential treatment services, community mental health step down services or forensic mental health services.’

It is expected this new facility will be the conduit linking support agencies of Government and offering expert care to families in the Turks and Caicos Islands, who are coping and often overwhelmed by the toll of mental health issues.

The tragic death of Garrick Tucker, as a rare but heartbreaking example comes to mind with a realization like this one.  Tucker, who struggled with mental instability and whose mother had pleaded desperately for help online mere hours before her son would die in a car crash, fueled calls for a space for the mentally challenged.

“The primary objective of the facility is to provide treatment, psychosocial rehabilitation, and links to support networks and other services.  Additionally, the facility will provide person-centered, recovery and rights-based approaches in mental health by upholding key principles that are important in the delivery of mental health services,” explained the ministry in a statement.

The Center of Hope was labored over by both PNP and PDM administrations and dates back to 2016.   Former health minister, Jamell Robinson had announced delivery of the center by the end of 2022 and on Thursday it finally opened.

The opening could also signal the a return home of  some of the country’s mental health patients living overseas, ushering in an era where specialized care could be delivered nearer to loved ones.

In the case of Garrick Tucker, it was explained that procedure and placement were issues in the case, but also professionals.

It is less clear who will staff the site as TCIG continues to struggle with severe staff shortages compounded by a globally competitive environment for qualified individuals in the field of medicine and education.

Nonetheless, Center for Hope’s opening is a milestone in health for the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The event was attended by Anya Williams, Acting Governor; Shaun Malcolm, Minister of Health and Human Services and stakeholders from the TCI Hospitals, Police Department, the Judiciary and Social Development.

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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