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Caribbean News

Taking a Kidney Test, Doctor shares What Happens



By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer



#TurksandCaicos, March 13, 2023 – You may have skipped the recent TCI Hospitals Kidney Screening Drive in Providenciales last Tuesday, but we have spoken with the local expert who may convince you of why you should make the time to attend the next one or even better, schedule a test on your own.

It is ‘alarming’ how Dr. Vancelee Forbes, Nephrologist at the TCI Hospitals, is describing the amount of TCI residents coming down with kidney disease. It is what sparked the screening drive, which had residents lining up an hour early.

For understanding, as many still fear attending doctor, here is what actually happens.

Whether you stop by the physical clinic or get your test done on the go by a mobile clinic, you will be administered a kidney function test, and this can come in many forms.

The US based Cleveland Clinic says most measure glomerular filtration rate (GFR), which simply refers to how efficiently your kidneys remove waste from your system.

In some cases, only blood is needed, and your healthcare provider will use a needle to collect a sample from you. A quick jab and it is all over. Your sample will then be tested and your results will be given to you.

Some tests use urine and in these cases, you may have to go to the bathroom and urinate in a cup. This may happen once or repeatedly throughout the day.

These can be take-home tests or on the spot. For take-home tests, you will get several containers that you will have to use when you go to the bathroom. You will then be required to drop them off at the Healthcare Provider’s office after 24-hours.

Same day results are typical.

If your tests are concerning then you may need to meet with a nephrologist like Dr. Forbes, who can monitor you and provide treatment options including lifestyle changes which can keep your kidneys functioning at a high level, eliminating the time-consuming need for dialysis; it’s also a very costly procedure.

You may have also skipped the drive because you are not convinced that you need a test. Even if you are not high risk for kidney disease, as it is with other non-communicable, there are symptoms to look out for, such as:

  • Blood in your urine.
  • Painful urination.
  • Frequent urge to urinate.
  • Problems when you start to urinate.

This is extremely important along with removing waste from your body and expelling urine, as your kidneys also produce red blood cells and help maintain your blood pressure. Kidney failure can affect multiple parts of your body in life-threatening ways.

“The good news is that kidney disease if detected early, can be treated to avoid the risk of progressive condition to kidney failure,” Forbes said.

If you are diabetic or hypertensive, it is really important to keep up with your tests, the TCI Hospitals doctor explained, as those two diseases are the number one and number two causes of kidney disease.”

Aldora Robinson, Director of the Health Promotions and Advocacy Unit of the Ministry of Health said they were extremely pleased with the initiative, “We have been looking at kidney disease as it increases in the Turks and Caicos islands,” she said “Dialysis is very expensive and as we move forward we want to encourage persons to eat healthier to exercise and live better lives.”

Robinson adds, in order to further that initiative the Ministry was happy to partner with agencies like InterHealth Canada and help raise awareness. She emphasized it was something that they should look at making part of their outreach efforts to prevent kidney disease across the country.

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

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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:…

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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.

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