The Ministry of Health has received a communication kit to help re-establish the sector’s emergency telecommunications network.
A media release from government said the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) donated the kit, which comprises satellite phones, VHF handheld radios, VHF base stations, water resistant cases, antennas and other accessories.
The kit will be used not only in emergencies but during daily operations of departments in the Ministry of Health.
It is said the Departement of Disaster Management (DDM) is now programming the new devices and equipment to function on the National Emergency Communications Network, the release said.
Health Disaster Coordinator Dr Ronald Georges received the items during the recent handingover ceremony.
He said the communications kit will “address a critical gap in our operations and will allow us to be able to communicate effectively during crisis times.”
He said his department was especially grateful for the donation because, prior to the 2017 disasters, a number of the territory’s telecommunications equipment were outdated and subsequently ‘inoperable’.
“We have tried our very best to keep the networks functioning but with rapid changes in technology, the funding is not always readily available to invest in the upgrades. We have learned from the 2017 events that quality information, made accessible to key decision makers, is paramount in enabling responders to make timely, informed decisions that save lives and ease human suffering. We must rebuild resilience in our communications systems and ensure that we have redundancies incorporated so that if there is a failure in one, we have others that we can depend on,” Dr Georges said.
According to the aforementioned media release, the DDM is working with a number of regional and international partners as well as colleagues in various departments and agencies to rebuild and strengthen the territorial emergency telecommunications and early warning networks.
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