Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs, Cynthia Forde, gave the assurance today that the care of senior citizens by the National ‘Assistance Board will not be compromised as a result of the current public health challenge.
Minister Forde gave the assurance today, against the announcement that five members of the NAB’s administrative staff had tested positive for COVID-19.
She said that a contingency plan was being formulated to ensure that none of its services to its elderly and other vulnerable clients was impacted.
She disclosed that none of the home helpers who work directly with the vulnerable population had so far tested positive for the virus.
Minister Forde explained that since home interventions by crisis staff and other senior personnel had been suspended since early March, it was not likely that there was any significant degree of interface between administrative staff and home helpers in the weeks leading up to this development.
The home helpers are however among the 255 staff members being tested this weekend.
The Minister noted: “To date, our seniors have not been impacted in any way by this unfolding development but these are early days. We have agreed to test the entire NAB staff including the field staff, known otherwise as home helpers. We are keeping our fingers crossed that all is well in that department but again the Acting PM has already drawn up a Plan B just in case. Please do not let us run off with idle rumour and speculation. I have told you today all that I know and I intend to keep you informed during the course of the coming week.”
She appealed to Barbadians to support her Ministry and the Government as they sought to deal with this challenge.
“It is not beyond us to manage and overcome this challenge… Our prayers and our support at this hour are with the staff of the NAB and their families. We appreciate the work of the officers in the Ministry of Health and Wellness. We are cooperating with them and doing all that we are asked to do to make this a smooth exercise. Please let the Christian spirit in all of us prevail at this very serious and sensitive time,” she exhorted.