Health Minister thanks PAHO for assistance with COVID-19

A delegation to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Executive Committee are seen here, left to right, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Hazel Laws; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Delores Stapleton-Harris; Health Planner, St. Kitts, Sylvester Belle; and Minister of Health, the Honourable Akilah Byron-Nisbett.
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BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – Minister of Health, the Honourable Akilah Byron-Nisbett headed a delegation on September 28 and 29 to the 58th Directing Council/167th Session of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Executive Committee, where she thanked those countries that have helped St. Kitts and Nevis in its COVID-19 response thus far.

The delegation included Chief Medical Officer Dr. Hazel Laws; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Delores Stapleton-Harris; Jr. Minister of Health, Nevis, Honourable Hazel Brandy-Williams; Permanent Secretary of Health, Nevis, Shelisa Martin Clarke; and Health Planner, St. Kitts, Sylvester Belle.

Dr. Laws said in her remarks that during the fight against COVID-19, St. Kitts and Nevis has benefited tremendously from its bilateral and multilateral relationships.

“I express gratitude to the United Nations, the World Health Organization and PAHO for their steadfast partnership in making equipment, resources and technical advice available to our region,” said Dr. Laws. “I also record our gratitude to the Republic of China (Taiwan) for its strong friendship to the people of St Kitts and Nevis. The Taiwan Model has been the most successful global example in the fight against Covid-19.”

Minister Byron-Nisbett noted that the ROC (Taiwan) can help and it has been helping through technical expertise and the provision of PPE, testing equipment, medical supplies, ventilators and much needed masks.

She also expressed gratitude to the United States, which has “provided tremendous support during this difficult period including furnishing ventilators to the Government and people of St Kitts and Nevis.”

“Interestingly, those ventilators had critical components manufactured right here in St Kitts,” she said.

Byron-Nisbett expressed gratitude to the government and people of the Republic of Cuba.

“Cuba has been a faithful friend to St Kitts and Nevis and the wider Caribbean region,” she said. “In response to this global pandemic and despite its own well-known difficulties, Cuba responded by sending a cohort of specialist doctors and nurses to assist St. Kitts and Nevis in its valiant fight against Covid-19.”

She noted that presently there is a contingent of 34 health care professionals from the Cuban Medical Brigade in the Federation of St Kitts and Nevis assisting with the COVID-19 Response.

“The team comprises 30 nurses and four specialist doctors trained in intensive care, anaesthesiology and epidemiology that contributed to the increased human resource capacity in the Federation,” said Byron-Nisbett. “Mr. President, this great humanitarian gesture by Cuba was replicated by them throughout the entire Caribbean region, parts of Latin America and even in Europe when Italy faced the height of this crisis. St Kitts and Nevis thanks Cuba for its tremendous support in this season of grave difficulty.”

In regards to opening the October 31 opening of the Federation’s borders, Byron-Nisbett said there is expected to be an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.

“In order to re-open our borders effectively, the Federation must demonstrate that it has sufficient health system and public health capacities to do so,” she said. “The Cuban health personnel are helping in this regard.”

St. Kitts and Nevis has expressed its profound gratitude to all its partners as it continues to fight the pandemic, she concluded.

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