Ministry matters

Ministry of Health and Welfare calls on Germany for help in COVID-19 fight



His Excellency Dr Stefan Keil, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Bahamas, paid a courtesy call to the Hon. Dr Michael Darville, Minister of Health and Wellness at the ministry on Wednesday, December 1, 2021. Pictured from left to right: Dr Cherita Moxey; Charlene Bain, Administrator, Community Health Services; Dr Philip Swann, Registrar; Dr Darville; Ambassador Keil; Colin Higgs, permanent secretary; and Dr. Bridgette Rolle, Executive Director / Health, Safety and Wellness. (BIS Photo / Kristaan ​​Ingraham)



Nassau, Bahamas – The Department of Health and Welfare is preparing for a possible fourth wave of COVID-19 and looks to Germany to share best practices and other measures to combat the pandemic virus. These sentiments were expressed during a courtesy visit during which His Excellency Dr Stefan Keil, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Bahamas, met with the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville, Minister of Health and Wellness at the ministry on Wednesday, December 1, 2021.

Also in attendance from the ministry were: Permanent Secretary Colin Higgs; Dr Philip Swann, Registrar; Charlene Bain, administrator of community health services; Siobhan Deane, Undersecretary; Dr Cherita Moxey and Dr Bridgette Rolle, Executive Director / Health, Safety and Wellness.

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His Excellency Dr Stefan Keil, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Bahamas, introduces the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville, Minister of Health and Wellness, with a gift during a courtesy visit to the ministry on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 (BIS Photo / Kristaan ​​Ingraham)



Dr Darville told the German ambassador that the Bahamas had experienced a “difficult” third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the highest number of deaths per capita in the region. This has mainly been attributed to patients with noncommunicable diseases and other underlying health conditions.

However, the country, through its health services, is preparing for the fourth wave: encouraging the population to be vaccinated is a means of fighting the pandemic; despite vaccine hesitation. He said: “We will continue to seek technical advice from Germany” to push back and combat the pandemic.

Germany claims 75 percent vaccination of its population. The Bahamas are at about 45 percent.

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At the table are Dr Darville; Ambassador Keil; and Colin Higgs, permanent secretary. (BIS Photo / Kristaan ​​Ingraham)



Dr Darville also mentioned other challenges posed by the pandemic – particularly on the healthcare system and facilities, adding that the Bahamas being an archipelago, it is difficult to replicate the systems and facilities on every island.

With this in mind, the government has committed to building two new hospitals in New Providence and Grand Bahama, respectively, which will expand the 91 public clinics spread across the islands. Meanwhile, the ministry is trying to modernize some of these clinics as a priority.

“We realize that Germany is a very technical country and we will be looking for devices to perform complex surgeries and other technical aids,” said Dr Darville.

The German Ambassador praised the Bahamas for their handling of COVID-19 and their ongoing vaccination program. He also pledged his government’s help in technical areas, acquiring vaccines through the COVAX facility and doing “everything possible” to bring the two countries closer together in various areas.

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Hon. Dr Michael Darville, Minister of Health and Welfare, presents His Excellency Dr Stefan Keil, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Bahamas, a gift during a courtesy visit to the ministry on Wednesday December 1 2021. (BIS Photo / Kristaan ​​Ingraham)