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Ministry of Health Issues Guidance on Prevention of Respiratory Infections  

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#TurksandCaicos, January 18, 2024 – The Ministry of Health and Human Services is issuing a timely reminder to the public about the importance of staying vigilant during the influenza season.  Recent trends have indicated an uptick in acute respiratory illness cases within our community. This trend is in keeping with the annual seasonal increase in flu-like illnesses which can be seen as early as September, with a peak between December and February.

Influenza is marked by

  • sudden onset of high fever,
  • aching muscles,
  • headache,
  • dry cough,
  • sore throat, and
  • runny nose

The virus is transmitted easily from person to person via droplets and small particles that are formed when infected people cough or sneeze. Although most individuals recover from flu symptoms within a week without medical intervention, severe illness or fatalities can occur, especially among vulnerable groups such as the very young, elderly, pregnant women, health workers, and those with underlying medical conditions. It is important to remain vigilant for early detection of severe disease and present to your health care provider.

COVID-19 cases are still being identified, and may cause severe illness in people with risk factors and those who are aged over 65 years. While hospitalization rates remain low. The JN.1 variant has become the dominant strain spreading throughout the United States with the return to mask mandates in hospitals across CaliforniaIllinoisMassachusettsNew York , and Washington D.C. The UK among other countries, is also noting an increase in COVID-19 prevalence as well as an increase in flu cases. To facilitate early detection and prevention of spread, the Ministry of Health and Human Services continues to offer free COVID-19 testing at all Primary Health Care Clinics across the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Residents are encouraged to proactively seek the influenza vaccine, provided free of charge at Primary Health Care Clinics across the Turks and Caicos Islands. The Primary Health Care Departments clinics are well-equipped to provide vaccination services to protect individuals. We are particularly focused on ensuring that vulnerable populations, including the elderly and individuals with underlying health conditions, have easy access to influenza vaccines.  The World Health Organization recommends annual vaccination for;

  • pregnant women,
  • children aged 6 months to 5 years,
  • elderly individuals (65 years and above),
  • individuals with chronic medical conditions, and
  • health-care workers.

In addition to vaccination, the Ministry of Health and Human Services recommends practical health tips to curb infection spread, including;

  • Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Dispose of used tissues in the waste basket. If a tissue is unavailable, cough or sneeze into the upper sleeve or elbow rather than your hands.
  • Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or the duration of singing the birthday song twice. If soap and water are not accessible, utilize an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Refrain from touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, as germs often spread when hands come into contact with contaminated surfaces and then touch the face.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work, or school, especially when someone is unwell.
  • Avoid close contact with individuals who are unwell.
  • If you are sick, maintain a distance from others, particularly those in vulnerable groups, to prevent the transmission of illness.
  • If you or your child is experiencing flu-like symptoms, stay home from work, school, and daycare to prevent spreading the illness to others.
  • Prioritize ample rest, hydration, nutritious eating, stress management, and physical activity to support overall well-being.

The Honourable Shaun Malcolm, Minister of Health and Human Services urges everyone “to remain committed to promoting a healthy environment, to stay informed and practice good respiratory hygiene to significantly slow the spread of germs. Everyone is encouraged to take advantage of the resources and services available such as vaccination and tests to protect yourselves and your loved ones.”

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Washington MISICK challenged, and holds onto Leadership of the PNP

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#TurksandCaicos, February 24, 2024 – Magnetic Media can report that WASHINGTON MISICK has emerged and remains LEADER of the governing Progressive National Party.It has been a contentious battle today at the PNPs National General Congress (NGC) for party leadership with interest coming from: Jas Walkin, the party’s 2021 campaign manager who this week publicly withdrew his bid; Dameko Dean, former Wheeland candidate who had published an article revealing his quest to lead the PNP and E Jay Saunders who today unsuccessfully challenged MISICK for the role.Saunders has tried for leader before and has served as the party’s deputy leader, at the pleasure and selection of Washington Misick since June 2019.The run for party leader was a risky maneuver by Saunders, son of former PNP Party leader and Chief Minister Norman Saunders.Delegates cast votes, giving E Jay Saunders 58 votes and Washington Misick 88. The elder statesman convincingly retaining delegates’ confidence.It is also reported that, based on the PNP Constitution, Saunders needed 70% support from delegates in a preliminary run off.  He was unable to secure that much backing.A constitutional motion to change the selection process of the deputy leader to a delegate vote reportedly failed.It is therefore unclear what the immediate future, politically is for Saunders whose party and government roles are hinged on Washington Misick’s prerogative to have him or someone else in these posts.However Misick is already promoting a strict focus on uniting the party following the NGC meeting held at the Shore Club.

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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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Conrad Forbes appointed Principal of A. Louise Garland-Thomas High School  

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#TurksandCaicos, February 23, 2024 – The Office of the Deputy Governor is delighted to announce the appointment of Mr. Conrad Forbes as the new Principal of A. Louise Garland-Thomas High School within the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sport, and Social Services.

Mr. Forbes is a forward-thinking educational leader with a proven record of success. His journey in education began at Florida Atlantic University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education in 2000 and a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership in 2003. Additionally, Mr. Forbes is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Christian Ministry at Liberty University.

Mr. Forbes possesses a diverse skill set that includes instructional plan implementation, faculty development, school management, professional and ethical leadership. With over two decades of experience in education, Mr. Forbes has demonstrated his commitment to providing quality education and fostering positive learning environments. Throughout a notable tenure at Broward County Public Schools from 2006 to 2019, Mr. Forbes excelled as an Assistant Principal. He supervised educational programs for a Magnet Montessori Pre-K-8 school, initiated teacher mentor programs, and played a crucial role in curriculum alignment, faculty development, and fostering a cohesive school culture.

Mr. Forbes’s leadership journey continued as an Assistant Principal at Seminole County Public Schools, Bear Lake Elementary in Apopka, Florida, from 2019 to 2021. Here, he managed organizational processes, recruited effective faculty, and improved the learning environment, demonstrating a commitment to quality education.

Mr. Forbes expanded his impact by serving as the Dean of Students in the School Board of Osceola County from 2022 to 2023. Here, he successfully managed school operations, student discipline, and provided training to faculty on classroom management strategies.

Reflecting on his appointment, Mr. Forbes expressed, “It is with great humility and honor that I undertake the position of Principal at A. Louise Garland Thomas High School. With over twenty-three years of experience as an educator and administrator, I hold a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in educational leadership. I have worked in both primary and secondary levels and in culturally diverse communities.

As an educator, I have always been committed to promoting a conducive environment that encourages student achievement. My family’s native land is the Turks and Caicos Islands, and I am eager to make a positive impact on my community. In my experience, building robust relationships with the school’s stakeholders such as staff, students, parents, and partners is a critical component of high-performing schools. Therefore, I intend to continue the proud traditions of A. Louise Garland Thomas High School by upholding established relationships and creating new ones.”

Deputy Governor and Head of the Public Service, Her Excellency Anya Williams, congratulated Mr. Conrad Forbes on his appointment, stating: “It is a pleasure to welcome Mr. Conrad Forbes to the Turks and Caicos Islands Public Service as the new Principal of the A. Louise Garland-Thomas High School within the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sport, and Social Services.

Mr. Forbes brings along with him a wealth of experience from the education sector in United Stated as well as experience from his work with young men through various programs. We know that his presence at the high school will provide great value to the continued work of the school, and he will lead the charge to continue to strengthen the quality of education and learning at the A. Louise Garland Thomas High School.”

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