(PRESS RELEASE) – Now that the Cuban medical brigade comprising doctors, bio-engineers and nurses have started assisting in the local fight against COVID-19, it behooves us to not only support their efforts alongside our local health practitioners already on the front line, but also for our people to welcome and appreciate their presence here, just like those other fellow Cubans who have been assisting locally at the Victoria Hospital eye clinic and other sections of the national health service.
Over the past couple weeks, we have continued to experience significant changes in our normal daily lives as Saint Lucia and the rest of the world are faced with the challenges of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.
For some of us, this unprecedented crisis has forced us to just be still and pause from our busy schedules. Some welcome this opportunity to be with family and generally do the things they never find the time to do, while others are simply restless and/or frustrated with the curfews, shutdowns and generally the fear and uncertainties.
As we struggle through these challenging times, I wish our colleague members and friends a very safe and healthy stay-at-home intervals and urge everyone to practice the safety protocols, as our country struggles to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
But while we face the wrath of COVID-19 like everywhere else, we must also continue to watch and follow global and regional trends to better understand our own. We are still very lucky to be among the countries with the lowest numbers of affected persons, but the numbers are increasing like everywhere else, which means we are not yet out of the COVID woods.
Saint Lucia has recorded 15 positive COVID-19 cases, 11 of which are women. But thankfully, so far, there have been no deaths recorded and people who tested positive are recovering and more people are being released from quarantine. But this does not mean we should let our guard down. Instead, given the reality of our limited resources within our communities, this calls for all of us to play our part and be responsible in protecting ourselves, our families and others, as we prepare for whatever news the virus brings in the days and weeks ahead as it continues to ravage the world.
We must do what is necessary in order to take us through this pandemic. Staying at home helps protect each other, so we have to adjust to the new times the best we can. It is a testing time and can be frustrating and overwhelming trying to deal with the unprecedented realities of Covid-19. But we have been at home long enough to adapt and recognize what we have been doing to cope thus far. So the main emphasis is to prepare ourselves to ensure we can survive the periods of necessary enforcement of stringent stay-at-home measures. Also being ‘stuck at home’ is better than being on a ventilator in a hospital.
As indicated earlier, the Cuban medical team has started providing support services at our hospitals and other healthcare facilities, in the fight to contain and eliminate the spread of COVID-19.
Cuba continues to selflessly provide medical assistance to countries in the region and globally, and to date, 21 brigades of healthcare practitioners have been deployed to 20 countries to assist in the fight to mitigate COVID-19. As well as to Italy, with over 90 countries also having appealed for medical assistance through the Cuban cocktail drug, Interferon, that has worked in China and Cuba.
We are therefore very grateful for Cuba’s continued support for Saint Lucia and the Caribbean during these challenging times.
Meanwhile, the Cuban Ambassador and the Cuban medical brigade appreciated the presence of a small team of HSA Members (limited by Social Distancing rules) that was present to welcome the team at the airport.
The welcoming team comprised: Tedburt Theobalds, Chairman of the South Committee; Selva Wilson, 2nd VP of HSA; Peter Phillip, former chairman of the South Committee; Cyril Mangal, member of the South Committee; and Callista Mc Lawrence and Leonora Sargusingh, both HSA members.
We are also grateful for all our essential service providers, healthcare workers, doctors and nurses, etc., (including our executive member, Dr. Joyan Chicot), who are at the frontline of our healthcare facilities and are more exposed to the virus.
We pray for their health and safety during this difficult period.
I again wish to take this opportunity to thank everyone for your continued support to the HSA and wish you and your families a positive, peaceful, reflective, and SAFE STAY AT HOME INTERVAL.
COVID-19 will end, but none of us knows when, so until then we must continue doing all we can, together and for each other, as we together face the challenge that we simply have to adapt and aim to overcome.
Let’s continue to care for each other!