The stories of the heroic efforts by Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) staff during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic need to be shared with the entire country, and even beyond, Acting Prime Minister Santia Bradshaw has declared.
And she has challenged employees at the island’s sole public hospital to find ways to let others know about the good work they did to keep the nation safe, rising above all odds at a dark time.
Speaking at the QEH Gold Awards ceremony, themed The Journey, at Sandals Royal Ballroom, Maxwell Coast Road, Christ Church on Saturday, Bradshaw spoke highly of workers from each department, saying their work was commendable, appreciated, and invaluable.
She said that without their dedication and endurance as frontline workers, Barbados would not have been as resilient as it was during the pandemic.
Bradshaw noted that the fight against COVID-19 was not an easy one and she encouraged the workers and management to blow the QEH’s trumpet and let the world know what they did for the nation.
“I want to challenge you to devise tangible mechanisms for making your work better known, valued, and appreciated in wider society. These stories need to be told so people appreciate the journey,” Bradshaw said.
“I strongly believe that greater effort needs to be paid, no lip service; we need to tell the story and let the public of Barbados understand the contribution that you made in this fight against COVID-19.
“I want to challenge management and staff alike to embark on a comprehensive and intensive public education campaign to highlight the work of healthcare professionals . . . . Tell the story of who you are and what you do, because sometimes we spend so much time on the negatives . . . that we forget to focus on the positives,” she added.
Bradshaw’s remarks followed a video presentation of workers in various departments speaking about their experiences over the past two years, which included seeing loved ones and colleagues dying as a result of COVID-19 and how they had to overcome their fears to complete their duties.
During the ceremony, the QEH’s executive chairman Juliette Bynoe-Sutherland also sang the workers’ praises, noting that the talent at the hospital was among Barbados’ best.
She added that despite the immense financial challenge of retrofitting the Harrison Point Isolation Facility, she was more than pleased with the successes achieved there.
Among the Exemplary Service Award winners on Saturday were former director of medical services Dr Clyde Cave, for national leadership; Rossana Lewis, for the role she played in setting up and managing various facilities; Ian Weithers, for creating the SHAPE app that was used to nationally record personal data; Chaynie Williams, for demonstrating great efforts in policy development; and Paula Agbowu, for outstanding equipment procurement. (SZB)