Receiving supplies, left, Hon. Akilah Byron-Nisbett, Minister of Health with Dr. Delores Stapleton-Harris, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health.

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — A generous donation of personal protective equipment (PPEs) was received on November 13 by St. Kitts and Nevis to be used to bolster the ongoing efforts to keep healthcare workers safe from COVID-19.

The equipment included 35,200 respiratory masks, 10,500 isolation gowns, and 3,600 goggles presented by the Government of Canada through the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) during a brief ceremony at the Joseph N. France General Hospital.

Dr. Yitabes Gebre, PAHO/WHO representative to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, as well as Ann Cleminson, Charge d’ Affairs of the Canadian High Commission in Barbados, participated in the virtual ceremony.

St. Kitts and Nevis’ Minister of Health, the Honourable Akilah Byron-Nisbett, accepted the donation.

“The successful management of COVID-19 necessitates astronomical financial investments,” said Hon. Byron-Nisbett. “Because the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis is a small, developing, service-oriented state… and due to the closure of the borders, there has been a significant adverse impact on the tourism sector. Countries like ours are challenged to generate the necessary funding to implement the appropriate infrastructure, which is imperative to effectively combat the virus.”

To date, St. Kitts and Nevis has registered 19 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with a 100 percent recovery rate. The 19th recorded case was announced on September 18.

Minister Byron-Nisbett congratulated local health professionals and officials of the National COVID-19 Task Force for the excellent job of containing the first wave of the novel coronavirus. She thanked the Canadian government for the donation of PPEs noting that it is a testament to the excellent relations between the two countries.

“PAHO/WHO have been extremely helpful in so many ways to our efforts and continue to provide a level of assistance that we will forever be grateful for,” said Mrs. Byron-Nisbett. “If it were not for PAHO/WHO, Dr. Gebre and his team, our border opening efforts would not have been so successful as it has been as PAHO provided support for training our frontline workers, provided assistance for staffing at our ports of entry and continues to assist with efforts such as ensuring that our labs here at JNF can be ready soonest to provide molecular PCR testing.”

The minister added that PAHO will also assist St. Kitts and Nevis in acquiring a vaccine to treat COVID-19 when it is approved by medical authorities and available for distribution worldwide.