Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams, Junior Minister of Health in the Nevis Island Administration, and Dr. Rufus Ewing Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation Advisor, Health Systems and Services for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean at a training session for Ministry of Health staff, held at the Gender Affairs Division conference room on March 20.

Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams, Junior Minister of Health in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) said all is being done to make Nevis ready for the advent of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) Tuesday following the visit of a three-member team March 20 from the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) to carry out training sessions with frontline personnel in the Ministry of Health and an assessment at the Alexandra Hospital.

“They conducted training in Risk Communication, Infection Prevention and Control, Surveillance and Contact Tracing and they also did an assessment of the facility at Alexandra [Hospital] to ascertain our preparedness for COVID-19. At the end of their assessment, we know that there is no perfect place, but they were comfortable that the managing team in Nevis, that they are doing all that they can in preparation for COVID-19,” she said.“We are doing everything in our power to make ourselves ready in the eventuality that we have a case.

“The training was very beneficial in that the front-line staff are being sensitised. They even did desktop sessions: if this happens, what you should do, and they learnt how to operate under stress and how to remain calm under very stressful situations,” she added.

The visiting team, which was led by Dr. Jean Marie Rwangabwoba, PAHO Advisor on Communicable Diseases, also included Dr. Karen Polson-Edwards, Advisor on Climate and Environmental Determinants of Health at PAHO; and Dr. Rufus Ewing, PAHO/WHO [World Health Organisation] Advisor on Health Systems and Services for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.

Minister Brandy-Williams used the opportunity to offer further advice to the public.

“Wash your hands frequently using soap and water, and in the event you don’t have the soap and water, use sanitizers; do not touch your face; and most importantly to exercise social distancing,” she said.“I want to say as well that there is hope and once we combine our efforts I am certain that can lessen the contact and lessen the spread and so I want to say to all of us that we continue to adhere to the advisories and we continue to look out for each other and most importantly we continue to pray that this virus could pass us by.”