Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Dr. Carissa Etienne said Dominica has used its longstanding primary healthcare approach to help to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We know that countries that depend on tourism cannot remain closed indefinitely,” she said. But as they reopen, they must use all the resources available to reduce risk for their population.”
She said, however, there are also encouraging signs in the data which prove that countries have the tools to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and to save lives.
According to Dr. Etienne, one of the most effective strategies is contact tracing.
“Dominica used its longstanding primary healthcare approach and its well established first level of care to promote and support public health measures, ensuring aggressive contact tracing, quarantine, case identification and isolation,” she noted.
The PAHO Director also stated that over the past 6 weeks, the number of reported new COVID-19 infections has more than doubled.
“Data trending in that direction typically signals an urgent need to implement public health measures to slow the spread of COVID-19,” She stated and mentioned such measures as social distancing and limits on public gatherings.
Yet, Dr. Etienne believes that over that same period, the very opposite has happened and pointed to countries have gradually relaxed restrictions, resumed commerce and are gearing up to head back to school.
She said in far too many places there seems to be a real disconnect between the policies that are being implemented.
“This is not a good sign,” Dr. Etienne remarked. “Wishing the virus away will not work; it will only lead to more cases as we have seen over this past 6 weeks.”