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Call for Masks to Return at some UK Medical Facilities

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Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer 

 

#UnitedKingdom, October 23, 2023 – A COVID-19 scare is sending one UK group of hospitals scrambling for their mask mandates once more as flu season approaches.

The Sheffield Hospital Trust which runs over five medical centers including two major hospitals in the UK has issued an alert for all visitors to its premises.  They will now be required to wear masks which can be provided free of cost.

Rising COVID and flu cases were blamed for the resurgence of the pandemic era rule. In an October 19 press release the trust said

“The number of cases of Covid-19 has risen significantly over the last few weeks both locally and nationally and so we are taking some precautionary measures to limit the spread of both COVID and other respiratory viruses.”

They’re also endorsing social distancing, sanitizing and vaccination.

Cases of COVID-19 in the UK have been trending down in the past several days. The weekly report is just over 14,000 with nearly 4,000 people in hospital.

The Turks and Caicos Health ministry follows the advice of the UK Health agencies. No National advice has come from the agencies yet and recorded cases locally remain low.

Flu cases are expected to spike from December to March as they do yearly.

COVID-19 cases could be similar.  Flu season also coincides with the major winter tourist travel season.

The Turks and Caicos, with the support of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has been upskilling its Health and Border Service agents to better deal with any outbreaks of disease that could affect the ports and is currently reinstituting the Regional Tourism and Health Programme in country.

The program, also supported by CARPHA, ensure stakeholders are trained in coping and reacting to alerts of infectious diseases via region wide guidelines to minimize risk.

Health

31 Turks & Caicos Medical Professionals, Trained in Trauma care

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Dana Malcolm 
Staff Writer 

In a first for the Turks and Caicos and one that some would describe as particularly important, over three dozen healthcare professionals were upskilled in emergency trauma care via Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) certification.

Trauma Care in emergency medicine usually refers to treating patients who are critically ill or have severe injuries and need to be quickly stabilized like gunshot wounds, damaged limbs, crush injuries, and stab wounds.

In 1976 following a plane crash involving a surgeon and his children who experienced substandard trauma care, the first ATLS course was created. It attempts to provide basic training for medical professionals when dealing with acute trauma cases where there is little staff on hand. In fact ATLS is supposed to work with as little as a single doctor and nurse team working together to stop the most critical injuries first, ensuring a better chance of survival.

This is particularly useful for the Turks and Caicos with its small hospitals and limited staff. Health officials admitted this, highlighting what they describe as ‘the pressing need for such training, particularly due to physician shortage, isolated communities in family islands and other barriers to accessing this critical training.’

Recognizing the need, the Hamilton Education Foundation jumped into action, and in collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital and the American College of Surgeons conducted a Hybrid Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) Demo for 31 doctors in the Turks and Caicos Islands on May 22nd and 23rd, 2024.

Led by Professor Susan Briggs,the foundation describes the course as historic in that it’s the first-ever done outside the United States and says it is;“Crucial for enhancing the quality of healthcare delivery and saving lives in the face of increasing intentional and unintentional injuries.”

With the rise in gunshot injuries in the country, seen through police data since 2020 many residents might be inclined to agree.

While admitting it was difficult to measure if ATLS reduced mortality, a 2016 article published in the National Library of Medicine describes the courses as “very useful from an educational point of view. It significantly increased knowledge, and improved practical skills and the critical decision making process in managing multiple trauma patients”

Rufus Ewing, Former Premier and Executive Chairman of the Hamilton Education Foundation, said, “This initiative aligns with our mission to enhance medical education and improve access to quality healthcare services in the Turks and Caicos Islands.”

The training received broad brush support from the Ministry of Health, TCI Hospital and private sector.

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Caribbean News

Dengue surges in Argentina; Repellent shortage reported

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer 

 

#Argentina, April 15, 2024 – Argentina is currently facing a shortage in mosquito repellents, a severely unfortunate development for the nation as it is now fighting a surge in dengue cases, in-line with PAHO predictions that the region will face its worst dengue season on record.

The mosquito repellent shortage was reportedly noticed in March 2024 and Argentina, according to the Ministry of Health, recorded over 163,000 cases with deaths in all age groups, more common for those over 80 years old.

The situation is widespread across Argentina as indicated by supermarkets putting on display “no repellent” signs.

Places where repellents are still available,  online spaces especially, are selling them at high prices.

As to the reason behind the shortage, BBC reports that it was told by one of the production companies (for repellents), that a forecast error was at fault and that manufacturing took months.  Additionally, mirroring this,  Mario Russo reports a supply and demand problem.

The Government is making efforts to have this sorted as soon as possible, but Argentinians, reports say, are not so hopeful as hundreds of thousands have already been infected.

Preventative measures such as repellents are crucial for Argeniniand who reply heavily on them, as they await the dengue vaccine which is already developed, but still In its early stages of distribution.

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Caribbean News

Yellow Fever Outbreak in Region and Beyond, Travellers Warned

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer 

 

#YellowFever#Caribbean, April 10, 2024 – Reports say there is an outbreak of Yellow fever in the Caribbean according to the Department of Health and official government advice website, Travel Health Pro, and travelers are being warned to be vigilant. The authorities say the outbreak is also in parts of Africa, and Central and South America.

Guyana and Peru so far have seen two cases. Brazil reports the disease in monkeys, an indication that it is spreading across the ccounty. Colombia has seen 3 cases.

In South America, between January 1 and March 18 2024, there have been seven confirmed cases, four fatal.

Yellow fever is spread by mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti (Linnaeus) and can cause potentially fatal hemorrhagic illness. Fortunately, it can be prevented with vaccination and so the World Health Organisation (WHO) is advising people ages nine months and older, traveling to the affected areas, to get vaccinated.

 

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