Connect with us

Caribbean News

Respiratory Protection Program Training, including ‘Train the Trainers’ for Mask Fit-Testing, Turks and Caicos Islands



#TurksandCaicos, March 1, 2023 – The Ministry of Health and Human Services in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the UK Health Security Agency, conducted a two day “Respiratory Protection Programme, Training of Trainers for mask fit testing” workshop, for twelve (12) health care professionals from both the public and private sector. This event was held at the Atrium Resort, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands, 26 – 27 January, 2023

The objectives of the training workshop were to:

  1. Build Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) capacity within the TCI by conducting a training programme for Infection Preventionist and Occupational Health staff in line with international safety standards.
  2. Train health care and other front line workers to be able to undertake fit testing of respirator masks and to be confident to cascade training to other staff members where needed.
  3. Increase knowledge and training capacity around respiratory hazard identification, the controls that can be implemented and the safe use of personal respiratory equipment including donning and doffing (putting on and taking off), alternative respirators, maintenance and decontamination.
  4. Introduce the Respiratory Protection Programme Manual for use in healthcare settings.
  5. Provide the tools and knowledge to develop and implement a local Respiratory Protection Programme.

The COVID-19 pandemic has played a major role in heightening our awareness of the risk of respiratory diseases and the effects of these diseases on our health, economy and society. It has provided the opportunity for the health care sector to strengthen their Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Programmes in order to avert or control the introduction of other infectious diseases which can become a public health emergency. As a country, our health work force is small, it is therefore of paramount importance that we employ all means necessary to ensure the safety of our health professionals and population at large. It is against this background that the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in collaboration with UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) are supporting the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) to strengthen the implementation of its IPC program.

PAHO in their concept note stated that “In order to effectively prevent disease transmission via the airborne and droplet route of spread, healthcare facilities require the capacity to understand and implement the key elements of a respiratory protection program, including the necessary infrastructure, human and material resources that support the program, along with the appropriate guidance on how best to implement the program successfully.”

In order to build an effective and sustainable respiratory protection program, it is critical that the proper respiratory protection equipment is selected in the right quantities and proper guidance on technical standards is developed and adhered to. Fit testing procedures and protocols for training healthcare workers in their use, how to introduce them into health facilities and finally, how to monitor their implementation and use should be developed and implemented within all health care facilities.

The Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) is the first English speaking Caribbean country to be trained under this initiative and also to benefit from face-to-face training.

Mrs. Jackurlyn Sutton, Chief Nursing Officer, Ministry of Health and Human Services and the National IPC Focal Point stated that “this training of trainers workshop is one of many initiatives supported by PAHO. The participants are now equipped with the requisite knowledge and skills to build capacity by training other colleagues in the healthcare system. Previously in 2021, PAHO assisted the TCI by conducting assessments on five (5) of our healthcare facilities in relation to IPC. We had been anticipating this training in mask fit- testing to take place in 2022, however, due to the high demand for fit-testing kits, we had to delay this until this year. We are also grateful to UK Health Agency for supplying the TCI with the kits in order to make this training workshop a reality”.

Our future plans for IPC in the TCI is to plan for and implement the recommendations made during the health facilities assessment; such as the development, sensitization and implementation of our national IPC Policy and conducting of ongoing IPC training and refreshers for health and other front line staff in proper hand washing procedures and “donning and doffing” of personal protective equipment (PPE). This is to ensure that health care and other frontline personnel, follow the correct procedures when putting on and taking off these PPE’s, a very essential technique to ensure that they are properly protected from the COVID-19 virus and other emerging and re-emerging respiratory infections.

The Ministry of Health and Human Services extends sincere thanks to PAHO Consultants, Mr. Jose Espino, Mrs. Kathryn Johnston, Ms. and to Mrs. Janice Toplass, UK Overseas Territories Programme Global Operations, UKHSA for their commitment to the successful completion of this training initiative.


Photos of Facilitators and Participants engaged in Mask Fit-Test Training

Bahamas News

Work of NAECOB critical in ensuring high standards in education, says Minister Hanna-Martin



By KATHRYN CAMPBELLBahamas Information Services
NASSAU, The Bahamas, March 29, 2023 – Over 100 schools in New Providence, public and private, and some 30 plus schools in Freeport have been inspected by The National Accreditation and Equivalency Council (NAECOB) to ensure high quality standards for the delivery of education.
“We will cover every island, every cay in this country to make certain that the facilities that we send our children to are adequate, conducive for learning, safe and sound for education,” said Thelma Grimes, chairperson, NAECOB.
“We are going to head to Cat Island and all the others before June.This is our announced visit. They [schools] have a chance to get things fixed that are not finished and [afterwards] we will have the unannounced.”
The Council informed the media of its progress during a briefing Monday, March 20, 2023 at its headquarters, Tonique Williams-Darling Highway.
Howard Newbold, Inspector and Council Member explained that the council’s seven inspectors are tasked with visiting every site or virtual space operating the following: primary/secondary schools, private/secondary, post-secondary, recognized, training, allied health and business institutions among others.
 Mr. Newbold said inspections include an examination of:
 -Safety and security standards-Human security which begins at the entrance to the property’-Physical security: safety mechanisms including smoke detectors, fire alarms and extinguishers (service date verification, and evacuation plan)-Primary grounds, playground equipment, swing sets and slides-Curriculum-Information management system (student records, staff schedules, registration certificate with NAECOB, business license, photos of the national leaders etc.)
The Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education and Technical and Vocational Institute thanked NAECOB for their efforts. She described their work as “critical” and a part of an overall national thrust to ensure that the quality of education in the country is at a high standard.“We’re the Ministry of Education and they’re our schools. We are accountable to NAECOB. They ensure that what is happening on the campuses throughout the nation meets the physical standards and the qualitative standards of education. You would have heard classroom size and teacher/student ratio. We may have challenges, and we do at the Ministry of Education but when these issues are brought to our attention we are obliged and compelled to seek resolution to ensure that the standards are met.
“This is a quality assurance measure for the Ministry itself and our schools to ensure that public and private and public schools meet these standards. We value that. Because the objective of the Ministry is to ensure that we meet the standards so that our young people who enter these institutions are afforded the best opportunity possible.
 “Education is a cultural value; a norm. We submit ourselves to the work of NAECOB to ensuring what happens is done at least to make the acceptable standards of the delivery of education in our schools,” she said.
Cassia Minnis, registration officer, said “registration” certifies that a local educational institution/provider has met the criteria to offer an educational service in The Bahamas as outlined in the Education Act. She said it is mandatory that all educational institutions/provider offering/proposing to offer an educational service in the Bahamas must be registered according to the NAECOB Act and the Education Act.
 She said NAECOB is aware of “small” schools operating within residential homes and warned that this is in contravention of the law.
She encouraged the public to view listings of all registered institutions on the website at
NAECOB is responsible for registering and accrediting primary schools, secondary schools, post-secondary schools, and any institution that offers training in The Bahamas.

BIS Photos/Mark Ford

Header: Seated at the table, from left: – Lorraine Armbrister, Permanent Secretary; Minister Glenys Hanna-Martin; Dominique McCartney Russell, Acting Director; Cassia Minnis, Registration Officer; Thelma Grimes, Council Chairperson; Howard Newbold, Inspector, Council Member; Shena Williams, Council and Inspector; Dorothy Anderson, Inspector; T. Nicola McKay, Deputy Chairperson;  (seated behind) Willard Barr, Council and Inspector.

1st insert: Thelma Grimes, Council Chairperson

2nd insert: Howard Newbold, Inspector and Council Member

3rd insert: The Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education and Technical and Vocational Training

4th insert: Cassia Minnis, Registration Officer

Continue Reading

Bahamas News

Bahamas Golden Jubilee Events Announced, Celebrations Across 33 Islands & Cays



#TheBahamas, March 27, 2023 – As the 50th anniversary of our nation’s independence approaches, Bahamians everywhere are teeming with excitement and expectancy around the year-long celebrations set by The National Independence Secretariat.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister joined H.E Leslia Miller Brice, Chair of The National Independence Secretariat to unveil the Calendar of Events for the 50th Independence celebrations.

The calendar comprises a host of events, initiatives and recommendations for celebrations throughout all 33 islands of The Bahamas.

At this jubilant occasion the PM stated, “Celebrating independence is about acknowledging the greatness around us, the greatness within us, and the greatness ahead of us.

We are Bahamians. That identity is special.”

View the newly released calendar of events here:…

Continue Reading

Caribbean News

JAMAICA: 12,362 Seniors Registered Under New Social Pension Programme



#Kingston, March 28, 2023 – There are currently 12,362 seniors registered under the Government’s new Social Pension Programme.

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Karl Samuda, made the disclosure during the sitting of the Standing Finance Committee of the House on March 2, at Gordon House.

The initiative targets all Jamaican citizens 75 years and older who are not currently in receipt of a pension (overseas or local) or any other retirement, old-age or disability benefit or regular income, and are not living in a government institutionalised care facility.

“We are evaluating the manner in which we qualify persons to go on the programme. This is a discussion we will have to have, as some people fall through the cracks simply because they might have a refrigerator, or they might be lucky enough to have a television at home,” Mr. Samuda said.

“The direction in which we are heading, to have those things, does not move you from poverty to prosperity. So, the Government has an obligation to do everything possible to improve their quality of life, and so we will be looking at that,” the Minister added.

Mr. Samuda said between March 2022 and January 2023, the programme disbursed $446 million.

To register for the social pension programme, persons may visit any of the Ministry’s parish offices islandwide.

They will be required to complete a social pension application form, accompanied by their Tax Registration Number (TRN), National Insurance Scheme (NIS) card, and proof of age in the form of a birth certificate or a valid passport.

They should also take along a valid identification (ID), such as a driver’s licence, passport or voter’s ID, proof of bank account and any other document that may be required to process the application, for example, proof of citizenship.

Continue Reading