A regional task force has been set up as part of an action plan to deal with measures to safeguard against the spread of COVID- 19 in Region Seven.
Heading the task force is Regional Health Officer, (RHO) Dr. Edward Sagala, with close support from Deputy Regional Health Officer, Dr. Julian Clementson; Bartica Hospital Superintendent, Dr. Gillian Jardine; Regional Chairman, Gordon Bradford; Regional executive Officer, Kerwin Ward, and others.
According to the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) of Region seven, the work of the task force will be to draft strategies for public awareness and also for response protocols for the Bartica Hospital and all other hospitals, health centres and health posts across the region.
Dr. Sagala stressed the importance of immediate health education, health promotion, and the promotion of proper washing of hands on a regular basis, as strategies to prevent COVID-19 infection.
In the statement, the RDC outlined that a series of meetings were held this week, with representatives of various organizations, both governmental and private measures to prevent the spread of the infectious disease.
The meetings were spearheaded by the Regional Disaster Management Committee of Cuyuni-Mazaruni, as regional authorities intensify efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in the region, and also to make preparations for any eventuality of an outbreak.
In a meeting of the committee held on Monday at the head of the committee, Regional Health Officer, Dr. Sagala, said that “in order for the efforts of the authorities, in the quest to prevent the importation of the disease into the township of Bartica and the region as a whole, to be successful, there must be a concerted effort and cooperation of the general public, especially business operators and those in strategic positions to effect action to help the cause”.
As such, he noted the involvement of government agencies, businesses and the Bartica Speedboat Association was integral to stopping the disease.
At the meeting, it was also pointed out that the town’s main port of entry, the Bartica Stelling, where passenger boats arrive from Parika, is a vulnerable point where persons infected with the disease can enter the community. The group discussed the possibility of setting up a medical screening station there.
The meeting also discussed the lockdown or restrictions on a number of public spaces and non-essential businesses, in the effort to heighten social distancing.
In the drive to educate and inform the public about COVID-19, a number of volunteers have come forward to share fliers and talk to residents about preventative methods. An announcement by way of public address system will be made around the streets of Bartica, while radio, television, internet and other medium are being utilized.
Bartica is a community of over fifteen thousand residents, located on the Essequibo River, and is the capital town of Cuyuni-Mazaruni Region. Similar preventative arrangements are being carried out across the region. Regional Health officials and others were deployed to various areas to ensure awareness and preparations are put in place for any eventuality.
Health facilities across Cuyuni-Mazaruni Region consist of one Regional Hospital at Bartica, one District Hospital at Kamarang Village, two Health Centres and twenty-six Health Posts.
In the interim, the Bartica Regional Hospital, which is the largest in the Cuyuni-Mazaruni Region, has been leading the way in putting systems in place for the prevention of the dreaded disease across the region, and also to be prepared in case of any infections.
Upon arrival at the hospital, persons are now required to wash their hands at the entrance.
Visitors must then report to the temporary screening station, located in the compound, to respond to a number of questions from health personnel, who will direct persons with flu-like symptoms, and those who recently returned from another country, directly to the Accident and Emergency Unit, while other sick persons will be sent to the Out-Patient Department.
Exit from the compound has been restricted to the gate at Second Avenue (opposite St John-the-Baptist Primary School).
The hospital is advising that vehicles will be allowed in the compound only if the patient cannot walk. Only one visitor per patient in the hospital is allowed, and one person is allowed to accompany a patient visiting the Out-Patient Department.
Dr. Sagala, continues to appeal to the general public to adhere to the systems put in place for the prevention of COVID-19, and also to practice good person hygiene, regular washing and sanitizing of hands, social distancing and good nutrition.
While the region has not recorded any case of COVID-19, Mayor of Bartica Gifford Marshall also appealed to Barticians to practice the safety measures recommended by health workers
“My grandmother always said “prevention is better than cure”. Today we are faced with a crisis, in the form of the “COVID19”
“Thousands have died around the world and we need to make a few but meaningful behavioural changes so as to protect ourselves, family, friends and neighbours. A regional task force headed by Dr. Sagala is doing its best to save lives. Therefore let us all cooperate with our health personnel and behave responsibly. We need to get through this together, so STAY AT HOME, wash your hands regularly, and frequently sanitize all surfaces. Together we can survive this crisis,” the Mayor said in a social media post.
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