The South-West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) has given assurances that it has enough Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to meet the needs of all its frontline healthcare workers.

The SWRHA issued a statement on the matter this morning, in response to a headline in a daily newspaper.

It also asserted that it has been acting in accordance with World Health Organisation (WHO) protocols.

During today’s edition of the Health Ministry’s COVID-19 Update media conference, Health Minister Terrance Deyalsingh also reiterated that there was enough PPE for healthcare workers.

Following is the SWRHA’s full statement on the matter…

SWRHA HAS ADEQUATE RESOURCES TO MEET NEEDS

The South-West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) takes note of a recent article in a daily newspaper, along with a social media post, with regard to the “rationing of PPE and the distribution/use of cloth mask” to staff of the Authority.

The SWRHA reiterates and ensure that all our dedicated and committed frontline healthcare employees are provided with adequate and proper PPE, which safeguards their health and safety and that of our valued patients. The stock of PPE on hand is prepared and reviewed daily by relevant executives. The Authority further affirms that, to date, there are adequate PPE in stock to distribute to various staff categories, based on risk exposure, in accordance with World Health Organisation (WHO) protocols.

Additionally, to reduce employee exposure to the COVID-19 disease while outside the regulatory confines of our health facilities, which include many employees who are to access both private and public transport, our dedicated team in the sewing department worked beyond regular hours and made over 3500 cloth face masks. The face masks were distributed to all employees throughout the organisation, in the last fortnight.

The goodwill gesture, which appears to have been misunderstood by a few of our employees, was meant as a demonstration of SWRHA’s commitment to ensuring the safety of our dedicated staff and the capacity of our will to meet the work-life balance needs in challenging situations.

At all times, the Authority has ensured that our employees are informed and updated on situations, as it relates to the pandemic. Internal correspondence, which has been leaked externally, was an example of same. This memorandum, penned after internal dialogue and aforementioned written protocols—with graphic aide on rational use of PPE—that were given to all employees, sought to ensure that internal quality controls were activated, which mandate that frontline staff have the necessary resources for the execution of their jobs.

Comments suggesting otherwise, are regrettable.

The SWRHA will continue to provide regular updates to staff and patients and salutes our hardworking colleagues providing yeoman’s service to the public.