A meaningful donation was made to the Dental Division within the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment by the St. John’s Lodge 492 ER.
The cheque of XCD $17, 871.85 was presented at the Ministry’s headquarters on High & Long Streets in St. John’s.
Representing the Lodge were: Immediate Past Master of the Lodge, WB Lt. Col. Edward Croft, Worshipful Master, WB E. Griffith Joseph, Charity Steward, Bro. Joel Darroux and Managing Director of Mur Wat Enterprise, Mr Elvis Murray-Watkins.
In attendance and representing the Ministry of Health were Senior Dental Consultant; Dr Derek Marshall and Permanent Secretary within the Ministry of Health, Ena Dalso-Henry.
As the Dental Consultant within the Ministry of Health, Marshall spoke regarding the suspension of dental services at the medical Division.
Marshall stated, “since the countrywide lockdown on the 13th of March 2020, all aerosol dental procedures were terminated and many of the dental services being offered at the clinics were compromised.”
Based on guidelines outlined by the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and American Dental Association, it is essential to establish a negative pressure system before resuming aerosol pressure procedures in dental clinics.
The cheque was given to assist in purchasing items needed for the installation of negative pressure systems.
“These pressure systems would enable the dentistry department to resume operations at the clinics,” stated Marshall.
WB Lt. Col. Edward Croft expressed his delight at the opportunity to partner with the Ministry of Health/ Government of Antigua and Barbuda and spoke of the Lodge’s willingness in providing the donation.
“It is indeed our pleasure to be associated with this donation; when it was brought to our attention that the citizenry and mainly our students did not have access to dental services, we said, what could we do to change that scenario?”
Croft further stated that after discussions with Marshall he realised the area of need, he also spoke of the Lodge’s commitment to render assistance.
“There is an area of need in respect to dental need and dental care, especially within the clinics, that were not being met, [with] children in particular. We are pleased to provide dental care to the various communities”
Based on what was said by Croft, future donations are expected mainly to the All Saints’ and the Blackburn polyclinics.
The Ministry of Health and by extension the Government of Antigua and Barbuda welcomes and expresses its thanks to the Lodge for its kind gesture.