By Caribbean News Global contributor
ST GEORGES, Grenada – Prime minister, Dr Keith Mitchell has commended the recognisable improvement in the level of service provided in the country’s hospitals; has promised to honour the four percent salary increase, while encouraging religious leaders to be partners in Grenada’s COVID-19 vaccination programme.
Dr Mitchell was speaking against the backdrop of the separation of hospital and community services from the general health portfolio, says the move was innovative and transformational and has yielded positive results.
“There is evidence of significant change and I must commend you for that. We are far from being perfect but the reality is that people are happy to see the change as it shows that the government is listening to their complaints. We must continue to work on the weaknesses that exist and bring about further improvement. I assure you that government will continue to invest tremendous resources to improve health services in Grenada but we must continue to work together to bring about further change,” said prime minister Mitchel, who also acknowledged minister for hospital and community services, Delma Thomas and senior officers within the ministry, “who assumed responsibility for the hospital and community services portfolio six months ago, also thanked the team for their display of dedicated service, particularly during the pandemic.”
Minister Thomas noted: “I have been on the ground with you, I have seen many of you go beyond the call of duty and I have seen firsthand some of the challenges in the system. You can rest assured of my continued willingness to be the champion for change in health care in Grenada.”
Concerning the COVID-19 vaccination programme, Dr Mitchell urged greater support from health professionals said, “the voices of professionals will lend greater credibility to the importance of this as means of returning to normal.”
Meanwhile, approximately 80 religious leaders representing various denominations participated in a virtual meeting attended by the minister of health, Nickolas Steele; minister of education and religious affairs, Emmalin Pierre and the permanent secretary with responsibility for religious affairs, Norman Gilbert.
Prime minister Mitchell commended the religious leaders for their general responsiveness as it relates to the pandemic and solicited their continued support in the fight against COVID-19. He expressed a desire to see more church leaders actively engaged in encouraging the population to be vaccinated.
Just over 13,000 Grenadians have received their first shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine, while more than 4,000 have been fully vaccinated. Dr Mitchell said: “I want to encourage you to use your public platforms to positively influence our people. You are well-respected in the community and people value your opinion. Therefore, there is a significant role you can play in encouraging persons to get vaccinated. We are working toward herd immunity but the longer we take to achieve that, means the longer we will take to get back to normal life.”
The religious leaders expressed general support for a more visible role in the process, but they cited a need for more information and made recommendations to that effect. This includes presentation by health officials to members of their respective congregations and the sharing of print and video content that addresses the concerns of people.
Dr Mitchell assured the church leaders that government will act on the recommendations, and reiterated the government’s willingness to honour its obligation to public officers, to restore peace and stability in the industrial relations climate, affirmed: “The government of Grenada remains committed to honouring the four percent salary increase for public officers, as soon as the country’s revenue earnings can accommodate the increased wage bill.”
— With a file from Gov.gd