Minister of Health and Wellness, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic (right) and PAHO/WHO Representative to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Dr. Yitades Gebre, pose next to the Nissan Urvan and medical supplies which were donated to Government by PAHO today. (S. Forde-Craigg/BGIS)

The Ministry of Health and Wellness, thanks to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), has added one Nissan Urvan vehicle to its fleet of vehicles to be used for COVID-19 purposes.

Minister of Health and Wellness, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic, accepted keys to the 12-seater, diesel, fuel efficient vehicle, along with five oxygen concentrators and twomobile oxygen concentrators, on the grounds of PAHO’s office, this morning.

Minister Bostic pointed out that the Ministry has been facing some challenges in collecting the samples from testing facilities around the island, which has placed pressure on the Best-dos Santos Public Laboratory and its staff to return results in a timely manner.

“And so this vehicle, this donation will certainly enable that effort [collecting samples], and allow us to be even more efficient than we are at this point in time. I cannot say how grateful we are for this vehicle because as I said, we have been having some challenges.”

During the handover ceremony, it was highlighted that the Ministry, in its COVID-19 efforts, collects swabs from the Harrison Point Isolation Facility, the St. Lucy District Hospital, Paragon and polyclinics across the island, routinely three times daily, and the new vehicle would go into operation as soon as possible.  

In addition, the Minister mentioned that there are two mobile swabbing teams, and plans are being made to increase those teams. 

Stating the reason for this, he said: “Because not everyone will come to the polyclinic or one of the sites, and we always want to have a handle as to what is happening across the length and breadth of this country.

“So that we are not surprised at anything. So that when I say to the public of Barbados and the Chief Medical Officer says that we do not have community spread, it is because we actually know, because we do a lot of work across the length and breadth of this country.”

PAHO/WHO Representative to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Dr. Yitades Gebre, expressed how pleased he was to hand over the biomedical supplies and new vehicle to assist with the continued effort of the Ministry of Health and Wellness and the National COVID-19 task force in helping to control the COVID-19 pandemic in Barbados. 

He also commended the Government for its efforts to date, in managing the pandemic. 

sheena.forde-craigg@barbados.gov.bb

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