By Caribbean News Global contributor
CASTRIES, St Lucia – Taiwan’s ambassador to Saint Lucia Peter Chen and the Saint Lucia Nurses Association (SLNA) president Alicia Baptiste signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to enhance nursing education and professional training partnership.
The MOU is expected to promote mutual partnership in nursing education, nursing professional training and exchange, at a time when Saint Lucia’s health care is comatose in many aspects.
Recently, the government of the Republic of China (Taiwan), a responsible member of the global community working to achieve the World Health Organisation (WHO) vision of health donated 10, 000 doses of the Astra Zeneca COVID-19 vaccine to Saint Lucia in the continual effort to save lives.
‘Take personal responsibility to get vaccinated’
Meanwhile, the ministry of health, wellness and elderly affairs on Thursday announced it has attained a COVID-19 vaccine coverage of 29 percent, approximately 52, 852 persons being fully vaccinated. Another three percent is partially vaccinated; and 6, 908 boosters have been administered, noted:
“It continues to emphasize the importance of COVID-19 vaccination, even at a time when in-country, we note a significant decrease in the number of reported cases of COVID-19 infections.”
The ministry of health communication on Thursday, headlined: “Take personal responsibility to get vaccinated” said:
“The COVID-19 virus isn’t going away anytime soon. The COVID-19 pandemic will not end anywhere before it ends everywhere,” further accepted: “We know that low vaccine coverage makes us more vulnerable; and increases the risk of the country for the likely emergence and circulation of new variants.”
Caribbean News Global (CNG) article “St Lucia’s low COVID-19 testing leaves the population vulnerable to future variants”, reads:
“Saint Lucia has documented a decline in the number of reported cases during the fifth wave, according to the ministry of health, wellness and elderly affair; however, low COVID-19 testing leaves the population vulnerable to future variants as collected and processed samples are well below the ability to test up to 2,000 persons in one day.
“Therefore, the decline “may not be real” due to a lack of testing and processed samples that are well below the ability to test make it nearly impossible to get a clear sense of the true number of COVID-19 cases in Saint Lucia.”
‘Let’s be more proactive, and less reactive’
In accordance with the ministry of health reporting, samples processed on Tuesday, March 15, 2022, from a total of 149 samples confirmed eight new cases of COVID-19, advanced the theory that:
“Safe and effective vaccines, which we have at our disposal, are a game-changing tool” the ministry of health announced Thursday, however, advised: “It’s not vaccines that will stop the pandemic – it’s vaccination that will do it. Let’s be more proactive, and less reactive.
“COVID-19 vaccination has been integrated into all our primary care services. Vaccines can be accessed at all the Wellness Centres across the island. […] For those of us who have been vaccinated, this does not mean that we can throw caution to the wind, and put ourselves and others at risk. We must continue wearing masks, cleaning our hands, ensuring good ventilation indoors, physically distancing and avoiding crowds.”
The ministry of health also cautioned:
“The latest news indicates that a new variant-Deltacron – has been confirmed. […] Whilst it may seem far from us for now, remember that viruses can spread very quickly, especially through international travel,” with the capability to compound the island’s weak surveillance system, low vaccinated population, access to healthcare and increasing healthcare cost.
The World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Wednesday, a combination of factors, including misinformation that the pandemic is over, the lifting of mask mandates, ending physical distancing – and a more transmissible Omicron BA.2 variant – are causing an increase of COVID-19 cases globally.
“After several weeks of declines, reported cases of COVID-19 are once again increasing globally, especially in parts of Asia”, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Gebreyesus told journalists in Geneva. In the past week, the agency has seen an 8 percent increase in detection of COVID-19 cases, with more than 11 million positive test results.
“These increases are occurring despite reductions in testing in some countries, which means the cases we are seeing are just the tip of the iceberg”, Tedros explained, warning that when cases tick up, so do deaths.
While Saint Lucia’s perception of COVID-19 cases trends downwards, the MOU between Taiwan and The Saint Lucia Nurses Association – Taiwan Can Help – the government of Saint Lucia prepare in case COVID-19 picks up again, as the largely unvaccinated population prepares for large crowed events and The Vaxxed Mas’.