Minister of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Kerrie Symmonds. (FP)

Fellow Barbadians, as the world grapples to overcome the ongoing challenges posed by COVID- 19 and the severe impact this pandemic is having on our health, social and economic environment, Barbados joins countries around the world to recognize, today May 20, 2021 as World Metrology Day. On this day, we commemorate the anniversary of the signing of the Metre Convention of 1875.  This treaty provides the basis for a worldwide coherent measurement system that underpins scientific discovery and innovation, industrial manufacturing and international trade, as well as the improvement of the quality of life and the protection of the global environment.

The theme chosen for this year, Measurement for Health well fits the time in which we now live.  This is so, as we reflect on the unprecedented health challenge that countries around the globe face today.  This theme was chosen to create awareness of the important role measurement plays in health, and thus in the well-being of every one.  

For over a year now, the entire world has had to face the onslaught of this COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, during the past weeks, we in Barbados have had the added threat of significant health and environmental challenges related to the ‘ash fall’ from the La Soufriere volcano eruption in St. Vincent. These occurrences should force us to examine the important role that the establishment of standards and international best practices can play in our everyday lives to mitigate the effects that such unexpected and unpredictable health threats may pose.

As we all know, over the past year, COVID-19 has compromised the physical health of millions of people around the world, while claiming the lives of nearly three and a half million people so far. It has also disrupted economies and caused disruptions that overwhelmed the capacity of health systems and other social infrastructures in both industrialized and developing countries across the globe. More than a year after the start of this pandemic, today, the economic outlook for countries globally, remains uncertain.

Metrology and testing have increasingly played a critical role in Barbados’ decision making and health-protocols, especially during this pandemic. For example, as Barbados reopens its borders to international travel, following the shut down as a result of COVID-19, a new and innovative technology in the form of an easy-to-use app which is designed to simplify and expedite the travel experience has been introduced.  

This is an app that can be downloaded prior to travel to Barbados and it allows visitors the opportunity to complete their ED form online, upload negative COVID-19 PCR test results and complete their health questionnaire, all from one centralized place. The app also provides capabilities for monitoring temperature and symptoms during the seven-day period following a traveller’s arrival in Barbados. 

The app is complemented by a state-of-the-art monitoring bracelet, which is worn by the traveller during his or her quarantine period. This water-resistant and tamper-resistant bracelet keeps travelers and locals safe by ensuring that visitors remain within their designated quarantine location.

Early in the pandemic, as part of our country’s response planning, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) signalled the implementation of a comprehensive plan to support country preparedness efforts for the outbreak associated with the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

This plan included establishing and strengthening laboratory capacity for early detection of the virus through the public health and reference laboratory networks in the Americas. The Barbados ‘Best-dos Santos Public Health Laboratory’ became one of the first in the Caribbean to acquire test kits and reagents for COVID-19 detection.  This was supplemented by concurrent training of laboratory personnel in the new testing protocol.

To download the full message for World Metrology Day 2021, you may click here.

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