Health Minister, Irving McIntyre, has said that the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has given Dominica an 80% grade for its level of preparedness in the event that the Coronavirus enters Dominica’s borders.
“There is a check-list for PAHO, and PAHO actually gave us an 80% preparedness considering the fact that we are just restructuring our health system …but we keep adjusting to see how we can get to the highest level of preparedness,” McIntyre stated at a National Emergency Planning Organisation (NEPO) meeting held this week.
He said the government is currently gathering the necessary equipment and supplies with some already in stock and others on the way.
“At the moment in terms of our supplies, we have twenty thousand (20,000) surgical masks, that is of the normal surgical masks, in terms of the N-95 masks we have twelve thousand, eight hundred and forty (12,840),” the minister said. “We went a little further and we have actually ordered surgical masks an additional eight thousand (8,000) and in terms of the other with the loop, six thousand (6,000), surgical masks with a shield eight thousand (8,000) and isolation gowns five thousand (5,000).”
McIntrye revealed that, at present, the country has close to a thousand (1,000) isolation gowns and one thousand two hundred normal gowns (1,200).
Two hundred (200) personal protective kits are also available.
He also stated that the government has printed three thousand (3,000) alert cards which are placed in public areas such as schools and banks.
“We also have these cards in Spanish and French, so when you get the cards the information is there,” McIntyre noted.
According to the minister, educational sessions continue at all primary and preschools around the island as well as nursing homes and business places in the city including the National Bank of Dominica (NBD), National Cooperative Credit Union Ltd (NCCU) and the Dominica Social Security (DSS).
“A country can never be 100% prepared…we try to be as prepared as possible, even the develop countries cannot prevent the virus from entering their shores let alone developing countries like ours,” he added.
Meantime, the health minister noted that a country could have all the fancy equipment in the world but “the basic step in fighting this virus begins with hand hygiene.”
“We have to start with the simplest approach which is, making sure we have proper hand hygiene when we cough in the public, when we sneeze in the public… these are the little basic things that you and I can do that actually don’t cost anything,” McIntyre stressed.