Barbados govt. offers to train new COVID-19 test swabbers

Those seeking to apply must have CPR/First Aid certification and a keen interest in working in healthcare 

BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS — The government has issued a call for Barbadians interested in working in healthcare to apply to receive training in conducting coronavirus swab tests as the country seeks to ramp up its testing efforts.

A statement announcing the initiative noted, “The Ministry of Health and Wellness is offering training for persons interested in working as healthcare personnel designated to carry out swab testing at COVID-19 testing sites.

“This training programme is a part of the ministry’s attempt to support wider COVID-19 swab testing efforts, particularly with the need to respond to the current surge in cases.”

A team from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) trains healthcare workers in Barbados in performing COVID-19 swab tests. (Photo: PAHO)

The ministry specified that those seeking to apply must have proof of valid CPR or First Aid certification, as well as a keen interest in working in the healthcare setting.

The call for more healthcare workers comes just one day after Barbados implemented new travel protocols whereby fully vaccinated travelers are no longer required to undergo a PCR test and quarantine upon arrival.

However, Minister of Health Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic asserted that the need to expand testing was not because of an anticipated increase in imported COVID cases, but rather due to community spread. He referred to instances of residents experiencing long lines at COVID-19 testing sites while healthcare workers stationed at the airport were only swabbing 50 to 70 people per day and yielding very few positive test results.

“So, the decision was taken to reallocate some of those resources, the vast majority, to the community to be able to carry out the testing and perhaps the increased testing that will result from the numbers that we have,” Bostic said.

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    Minister of Health Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic.

    He added, “We’re looking to expand our testing capacity for community transmission… We have to go in that direction to take some of the load off the major testing sites…and we also have to engage the services, in some instances, with our private sector partners for them to be able to assist with testing to reduce the numbers, reduce the waiting time and also to take some of the burden off of the resources that we have at our disposal — that is, the public sector resources.”

    The minister cautioned, however, that “we do not have infinite resources in this country”, acknowledging that “our human resources are stretched at this time because of this surge that we are experiencing”.

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