Ministry of Health & Social Development
Release Date:
Monday, 7 October 2019 - 4:18pm

Good Morning.  I am pleased to observe the Protocol that has been properly established.

Having recently attended both the 37th Meeting of the Council for Human and Social Development – Health AND the 57th Directing Council’s – 71st Session of the Regional Committee of World Health Organization for the Caribbean -- It is indeed a pleasure for me share a few remarks as we join in activities in observance of “International Infection Prevention Week”. The annual event, initiated by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, is spearheaded by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) in the USA and is now observed throughout the world.

As we continue on our quest of becoming the leader and preferred provider of healthcare in the Virgin Islands, infection prevention and control remains a high priority.  It is of great importance because there is a need to create a heightened awareness surrounding this topic.  Patients, clients and their families need to understand that controlling and preventing infections is something that should not be taken for granted and it is vital to healthcare management.

Statistics show that one in 25 patients will contract a healthcare associated infection and tens of thousands of those patients will die. Oftentimes, these infections can be prevented if we adhere to good infection prevention and control practices. These practices save lives and reduce infections and healthcare associated costs. 

While we are doing our part to reduce hospital acquired infections, precautions should also be taken at the community and individual levels.

Keeping patients safe is everyone’s responsibility! 

At the recently concluded meeting in Washington DC, Health Leaders from throughout the Americas approved seven new regional initiatives inclusive of the need to “Accelerate efforts already underway so as to ELIMINATE MORE THAN 30 DISEASES AND CONDITIONS FROM THE AMERICAS BY THE YEAR 2030.    

APIC has identified and is promoting 10 ways to protect patients -- both in and out of health care facilities. In the BVI, Infection Prevention Week is being celebrated from October 6 -11 under the theme, “Vaccines are Everybody’s Business”. This is a fitting theme for the times, because we are currently experiencing an outbreak of vaccine preventable diseases in various parts of the world. One of the world’s largest measles outbreaks is blazing on as we speak. Measles, a disease which once had been eradicated in many of the countries now affected.

Fortunately for us in the Virgin Islands we take vaccines seriously and for the most part we ensure that our children are up to date with their vaccination schedule.  I boldly make this statement because as a territory we can boast that 95% of our children have been vaccinated.  We also make a concerted effort in ensuring that our healthcare workers too are vaccinated. We also maintain our measles elimination status. 

I want to take this time to applaud parents and guardians for their role in ensuring that the Territory’s children are vaccinated; and the health services for ensuring our workers are vaccinated as well.  For those who may be behind, contact one of our primary care facilities to determine the appropriate vaccination needed.

Keeping our people safe from infections and vaccine preventable diseases is everyone’s responsibility. The Ministry of Health and Social Development and the BVI Health Services Authority are committed to delivering excellent, compassionate affordable client centered healthcare. We encourage you to make wise healthcare management decisions as we partner towards a Healthier Virgin Islands.

Thank you for attending and for listening!