Local charity arm collaborates with doctors to administer free Covid-19 tests for residents

From left Director of Blessed Hands and Generous Heart Leon George; Dr Olsheath Bowen; and Member at Large Jeseca Southwell
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Official handover of test kits and PPEs to Dr Smith
Blessed Hands and Generous Hearts Founder, Patricia Tonge-Edigin

The local arm of an international charity is collaborating with two local doctors to provide free Covid-19 testing for residents, starting as early as next week.

Just over a week ago, US-based Antiguans, Patricia Tonge-Edigin, Carolyn Edwards and other collaborators handed over 150 Covid-19 rapid and PCR-Test kits to the Director of the local arm of Blessed Hands and Generous Hearts, Leon George.

According to Tonge-Edigin, the group saw it fit to make the donation because “we saw in Antigua Covid-19 cases were on the rise and we wanted to give back to our homeland to assist in whatever way we could. We still have lots of friends and families on island and we do care, not because we have relocated Antigua is always home”.

Earlier this week, George officially handed over the items to Dr Olsheath Bowen and Dr Tadia Smith, who agreed to administer the tests free of charge to residents. The first testing date set for April 3rd in Sagicor’s parking lot starting at 1 pm.

Residents who are interested in accessing the free Covid test are asked to register prior to the testing date by calling Dr Bowen’s office at 562-9496.

“By having people register ahead of time gives the doctors enough time to plan ahead and know exactly how many persons can be tested based on current supplies,” George said.

He also shared that the local charity is planning to donate additional rapid test kits to the doctors to continually support the initiative which is especially important for the charity at this time.

“Plans are also in the pipeline to expand the initiative into several communities to ramp up testing as much as possible,” George said.

When asked why he thought the initiative was important he stated: “It is extremely important because what we find now is that a lot of people are unemployed. Companies are closing down and some people are working two and three days a week and so the money they may be collecting may be just enough to get the basics. So we felt by providing the option of people to get free a Covid-19 rapid test that would be one way of easing their financial burdens.”

Blessed Hands and Generous Heart was founded in June 2020 by Tonge-Edigin with the mission to provide food and clothing to families in need locally.

The charity has since morphed into a movement and has now expanded to provide school supplies, furniture, medical supplies, and other household items to families.

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