From: Bahamas Information Services
Several health care workers were honoured during the 23rd Annual Christmas Visit to the Rand Memorial Hospital of the Governor General, His Excellency Sir Cornelius A. Smith and Lady Smith on Friday, December 10. The event was held under the theme, ‘Honouring our Grand Bahama Health Service Heroes.’
Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey gave remarks on behalf of the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville, Minister of Health and Wellness, who joined at the time of Tour of the Facility. The Rand Memorial Hospital celebrated its 51 st anniversary in September, when many of the wards and services being held elsewhere returned to fully repaired and refurbished spaces.
The Lula Knowles Paediatrics Ward was relocated from Sunrise Medical Centre to the Rand Memorial Hospital in April, as did the Obstetrics Ward and Special Care Baby Unit Services. The Intensive Care Unit was relocated from the Accident/Emergency & Urgent Care Centre; the Medical and Surgical Wards were relocated from the Foster B. Pestaina Auditorium at Pro-Cathedral of Christ the King; and the Operating Theatre.
“Since being re-homed within the Rand Memorial Hospital,” said Minister Moxey, “the Surgical Department at the hospital together with the Surgical Department at the Princess Margaret Hospital garnered national recognition for facilitating two landmark surgical procedures. The two hospitals cooperated to allow for a complex surgical intervention for a spinal injury; and shortly thereafter collaborated to facilitate the removal of a train tumor in another complex procedure. These two surgeries have blazed the trail for higher levels of collaboration between the Rand & PMH which would allow for patients to receive complex interventions without having to assume the risks and burdens of travel to New Providence in the future.”
She assured the staff at the Rand that whatever can be done to foster the level of cooperation between the two facilities would be done. The country has just come out of the third wave of COVID-19 and the CDC travel advisory has been removed against travel to the country. This, she said, was as a result of the decreased number of cases throughout October and November.
For this to continue, she said, measures must be taken to prevent the spread. “Bahamians must continue to mask up when outside of their homes, continue to frequently wash or sanitize our hands, and maintain social distancing in public spaces.”
Urging that Bahamians should continue to be vaccinated against COVID-19, she said this will reduce the risk of contracting the virus. If people are still unsure or have questions, they were urged to call 511, and then go get vaccinated. The goal, said Minister Moxey, is to have 200,000 residents vaccinated by the end of 2021. “This goal is achievable, but we must all lend a hand to make it a reality.
Every one of us knows someone who is eligible for vaccination, but who has not yet made that choice. I encourage you to gently urge them to protect themselves, to protect their family and community by making the choice to vaccinate, because vaccination saves lives.” Sir Cornelius said he and his wife, Clara, enjoy coming to Grand Bahama as it is their home.
“The staff at the Rand Memorial Hospital has endured much in the last two years. On the heels of recovery from the ravages of Hurricane Dorian which literally destroyed your hospital, you were faced with COVID-19, a global pandemic which resulted in the loss of lives, many of whom were your team mates and families.”
He expressed gratitude to the organizers of the event as they chose to honour the Heroes of the RMH, “for if there ever was a group whose heroic efforts must be memorialized, it must be the hard working and dedicated staff who in the midst of the most dangerous hurricane on record and in the face of a killer pandemic and without thought for their own safety or their own lives, provided outstanding sacrificial services to others.”
Many, especially those who worked in the front line, had to watch family and friends fight for their lives or come face to face with death, as they sacrificed time with their loved ones. He described them as the real MVPs and asked that Dr. Darville compile a heroes list so that “the Office of Governor General can recognize them in a more meaningful way.”
Following the official ceremony, their Excellencies, Minister Moxey, Senators James Turner and Kirkland Russell, senior officers of the Royal Bahamas Police Force and Royal Bahamas Defence Force toured the facilities, led by Hospital Administrator, Sharon Williams.
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