Bridgetown, Barbados, December 18, 2020 (PAHO/WHO) - The PAHO/WHO Office for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Countries (ECC) said thank you to media this week, for their coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic.
During a cocktail reception hosted for media houses, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kenneth George, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Mrs Janet Phillips, PAHO/WHO Representative for Barbados and the ECC Dr. Yitades Gebre and PAHO/WHO Advisors, gathered to salute the media.
The PAHO/WHO Representative also pledged continued collaboration with the media.
“We will continue to work with our invited guests here to reach many individuals, as we do not want to miss any one and we don’t want anyone to be left behind.”
Dr. Gebre recalled the progress made in 2020 dealing with the pandemic. He said at the beginning of the pandemic, only Barbados and Dominica had the capacity to test for COVID-19; but PAHO/WHO has worked with the region to change this.
“I am pleased to announce that all countries in the Eastern Caribbean are able to do diagnostic tests for COVID-19.”
Added to that accomplishment, donations were made to the PAHO/WHO member countries. “Millions of gowns and six million surgical and respiratory masks, over 365 000 goggles were donated; and that was all done through collaboration.”
The PWR also mentioned that PAHO disseminated over 8 million COVID-19 PCR tests and over 3 million rapid antigen tests, to the countries.
Dr. Gebre stated that in 2021, PAHO’s focus will continue to be to save lives, to stop the spread of COVID-19 and to protect health care workers.
The main pillars of the WHO COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan (SPRP) are:
- Pillar 1 - Country-level Coordination, Planning and Monitoring
- Pillar 2 - Risk Communication and Community Engagement
- Pillar 3 - Surveillance, Rapid Response Teams and Case Investigation
- Pillar 4 - Points of Entry
- Pillar 5 - National Laboratories
- Pillar 6 - Infection Prevention and Control
- Pillar 7 - Clinical Management
- Pillar 8 - Operational Support and Logistics
- Pillar 9 - Maintaining Essential Health Systems and Services
One more pillar has been added to these 9 pillars, said Dr. Gebre: the COVID-19 vaccine.
"The way forward for 2021 is that we’re going to be working together. We have to work more, we have to save lives, we have to work on health, we have to build the economy, we have to build back better.”
Speaking on behalf of the media, Executive Editor of the Nation Newspaper, Carol Martindale, thanked PAHO/WHO for honouring the media, stating that “the media is seldom celebrated.”
She also commended medical officials for making themselves assessable to the media, which assisted the media greatly.
Dr. Rufus Ewing, Advisor, Health Systems and Services, raised the toast to the media for their tireless coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, informing the public and documenting its impact on our region.