Public Health Communications Specialist
Ministry of Health/Social Development
Nine persons are now trained as Fit Testers as part of a respiratory protection programme for healthcare workers.
Chief Nursing Officer, Ms. Jascinth Hannibal said Fit-testing is one part of a comprehensive respiratory protection programme geared towards managing respiratory hazards in healthcare facilities for the benefit of healthcare workers and patients.
Ms. Hannibal said healthcare workers are exposed to many hazards daily including bacteria, viruses, fungi, chemicals, ergonomic hazards, and radiation that can cause injuries and ill health to themselves and their patients.
According to The Chief Nursing Officer, when these hazards are respiratory in nature, healthcare workers must use controls such as respirators to reduce or eliminate the transmission for disease.
Ms. Hannibal further stated that air-purifying respirators such as the N-95 masks are a main type of control used. “These masks help to protect the respiratory system of healthcare workers as they care for patients.” She added, “Sometimes these masks are not the right fit for that particular health worker which leads to gaps in their protection and exposes the worker to infection.”
Ms. Hannibal further explained that the training equipped persons within the health services with the skills to fit-test workers as Fit-testing helps to ensure that the mask they are wearing is providing them with the best possible protection.”
Representatives from the Ministry of Health and Social Development and the BVI Health Services Authority attended the training facilitated by Infection Prevention and Control Specialist in the UK Health Security Agency Ms. Janice Toplass.
The Ministry of Health and Social Development is committed to improving the health of the people of the Virgin Islands.