Pre-schools closed, minister promises report

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The health minister is promising to make public the results of a Central Board of Health clampdown probe on at least two creches that were recently closed by the government.
OBSERVER media was told by several parents that they were contacted last week to collect their children because the schools were closed after health officials swooped down on the institutions for inspection.
The two institutions provide daily care for newborns to five-year-olds, in the Ottos community.
Molwyn Joseph said in an interview on Connecting with Dave Lester Payne that he is awaiting the report.
“I have not received the reports, but, what this signal is that we are going to be more vigilant in looking and evaluating the health practices and the health conditions in our institutions, schools and even the pre-schools,” Joseph said yesterday.
The minister said the clampdown is part of an ongoing effort to have all facilities to be inspected by the Central Board of Health. However, he did not disclose why the creches were closed.
Joseph noted that institutions that do not conform to the best health practices run the risk of having their operations licenses revoked.
Meanwhile, Joseph said government-run facilities that fall under the purview of the health ministry are
not inspected by CBH and the intention is to have all public and private entities regularly inspected for health reasons.
“The Central Board of Health must be an inspectorate for the entire nation of Antigua and Barbuda, whether it is government or private. They must go to the hospital, inspect and ensure that the practices that are established are standard … are followed,” he added.
Joseph said plans are being made to change the CBH “slightly” and to develop the health authority as an inspectorate that also monitors environmental health.
“I am not satisfied that there is enough intensity and enough follow up and monitoring of all institutions in Antigua and Barbuda. They have done very well in terms of food handling which tells me that the expertise is there, but, it is just that you have to organise a more expansive inspectorate for Antigua and Barbuda,” Joseph said.

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