Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis speaking to chief hospital administrator Mary Walker during a tour of Princess Margaret Hospital yesterday.
Photo: Racardo Thomas/Tribune Staff
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Tribune Chief Reporter
THE next 100 days in office for the Davis-led administration will see an aggressive push to fight the COVID-19 virus beginning with keen interest in the “dismal” Princess Margaret Hospital alongside an in-depth look at the country’s finances.
According to Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis yesterday, the public healthcare system is a high priority for the government after it was ravaged by three waves of COVID-19 and in recent times the Delta variant, which led to increased cases and deaths.
While there were only 39 cases reported in the country as of Monday, there have been 20,288 COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic.
Five hundred and twelve deaths have been recorded, with two new fatalities recorded on September 9 and September 20. The victims were ages 73 and 70.
PMH continues to bear the brunt of the stress-induced by COVID-19, including at the morgue where over 320 bodies are being stored.
Mr Davis said there were some glaring issues highlighted during his first tour of PM as prime minister and after discussions with doctors and nurses who’ve been fighting on the front lines.
“First of all we are in a health crisis and, of course, no doubt an economic crisis and until such time as we get the health crisis under control and have the right path towards a proper and effective fight against the virus we will not be able to get our economic situation under control,” Mr Davis said yesterday after touring PMH.
Health and Wellness Minister Dr Michael Darville as well as Public Hospitals Authority and PMH officials took part in the tour.
“So, today I’ve come here because I realise and appreciate what needs to be done from the outside,” Mr Davis said.
“I am now on the inside and ensuring that I have a full picture of what is happening. What I can say is that having spoken with Dr Dahl-Regis, (Vaccine Consultative Committee chairperson) on Friday right after my swearing-in because as I indicated that was the first challenge.
“There is some urgency of getting this virus under control so I met with Dr Dahl-Regis on Friday. I met with the doctors and nurses today along with the Minister of Health (Michael Darville) and we’ve gotten a picture from their perspective of what is happening in this fight against the virus. It’s bleak.”
Asked his impression of PMH, he said: “The healthcare system is a high priority for us. At the moment the system is such that it has been overwhelmed by COVID cases and that has to be addressed first to determine exactly what we do.
“I have to sit down now with my minister of health and we’ll craft a way forward and in the immediate term, we’ll have some short-term solutions to what we see here.
“It is accepted by all that the state of the hospital is dismal and we need to address that.”
While he could not say what would be done in the immediate term, insisting there was a need to gather more information, Mr Davis said the next 100 days in office for his government would have two main focuses.
“First thing you are going to see is an aggressive fight against the virus and that’s what we’re doing now and the first step is what we’re doing today.
“(The) second step we will then address the economic issues that face our people and we’re now going to be aggressively looking at the state of our finances to determine what we can do with what we find and we will let the Bahamian public know what we have found.”
Mr Davis’ tour also took a look at ongoing construction at PMH. He said from what contractors have said, the completion timeline is unacceptable.
“From what I am hearing from the contractor because of the number of cases of COVID virus that’s impacted even the care of the ordinary ill patient. It has disrupted the manner in which they could proceed with their work and so they’re working at night and intermittently so as to accommodate the hospital providing services to people who need it and that has impacted the timeline for their finishing.
“They did indicate that if it continues this way the work could continue well into the 2023 and we were just saying that’s not an acceptable time, but I understand the factors that has interrupted the work and has caused the work to be extended and I think we will sit down to see how they can work around all those issues,” Mr Davis said.