The Pan American Health Organization presented the Ministry of Health with equipment to assist in the fight against Covid-19. The donation included laboratory equipment, COVID-19 tests, laptops, mobile phones and modems. A handover ceremony was held at the Ministry, August 6, 2020. Minister of Health, the Hon. Renward Wells, on behalf of the Bahamian people, thanked PAHO/WHO Representative to The Bahamas Dr. Esther de Gourville, who oversees the PAHO/WHO Country Office for The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands.
“The Ministry of Health and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), have established and continue to maintain a robust partnership,” he said. “With over forty years of experience in coordinating relief efforts, distributing supplies, deploying expert personnel and helping countries advance their healthcare systems, the proficiency of PAHO is truly appreciated here in The Bahamas. The commitment and experience that PAHO offers, especially during times of emergency, is colossal.”
The Minister said that the donation from PAHO of two GeneXpert machines and 1,800 test cartridges would ‘considerably’ increase the country’s in- country diagnostic testing capacity and ability to deliver timely results. Also, the donation of six Samsung Galaxy A20 mobile phones and three Alcatel 4GLTE mobile Wi-Fi hotspots would aid in technical connectivity. During the ceremony, Dr. de Gourville, gave a brief description of the donated equipment, utilizing a pictogram to explain how the items could be used. “The laboratory equipment is ideally suited to low workload or acute care settings to provide rapid real time PCR test results within 45 minutes. Three sites are being equipped by PAHO: Princess Margaret Hospital and Flamingo Gardens Clinic in New Providence and the Rand Memorial Hospital in Grand Bahama. This will expand the country’s COVID-19 testing capacity and increase the number of persons that can be tested daily. The
same donated laboratory equipment can be used in future by the MOH for tuberculosis, hepatitis and influenza testing.”
She said the donation of communication equipment is to be used in the Ministry’s COVID-19 contact tracing programme, which is being expanded in response to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases. She also confirmed commitment to provide technical advice and support to the country’s on- going COVID-19 outbreak responses in the areas of laboratory testing, surveillance, risk communication, mental health and infection prevention and control. PAHO has also launched an Infection Prevention and Control training course for 35 Bahamian health care workers.