Gov’t’s COVID-19 response producing results
−says Minister Anthony
Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony says the Government’s frontal approach to addressing the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is producing results in record time.
His comment came during his contribution to the 2020 Budget debates on Wednesday.
The Minister said since coming to office less than two months ago, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) has engaged several international agencies, including PAHO/WHO, the Caribbean Public Health Agency, and CARICOM, to secure supplies of critical gear and equipment.
“The People’s Progressive Party Government took aggressive steps to strengthen the response, ensuring there was an aggressive laboratory testing programme, expanding contact tracing, providing exposed persons with testing and counselling, and providing for adequate hospital treatment and care for the critically ill,” Minister Anthony said.
The Government also boosted capacity for testing and the treatment and care of COVID-19 patients. More medical technologists were trained, and a 24-hour shift system implemented, which has increased the number of tests performed. Additionally, more polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machines were acquired and soon the National Public Health Reference Laboratory will receive an automated testing machine which could process 96 samples in two hours.
“If there is a backlog, we have made arrangements with CARPHA to take off that backlog. We have made arrangements with the United States to send samples to the US if necessary, and we have already spoken to the people in Brazil for samples from Region Nine to now go across to Brazil and be processed over there,” Minister Anthony said.
To boost treatment capacity at regional hospitals, the Government trained doctors and procured ventilators to ensure those services were available there. Additionally, the drug Remdesivir has been added to the Ministry’s inventory as an effective treatment method for COVID-19.