BASSETERRE, St.Kitts (Friday 1st May 2020) – Medical practitioner Dr. Terrance Drew is condemning a latest social media “fake story”- on the recent antibody test kit sample donation to the Ministry of Health- labelled another political attempt to undermine his ongoing interest in providing assistance on a national front in the fight against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in St.Kitts-Nevis.
This media house came across the item- done via a video presentation this week- which features the voice of a male with an American accent believed to be a computer-generated one.
Dr. Drew views the attempts of mud-slinging at his character as being based on party politics with him being the current Chairman of the opposition St.Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) and also the candidate for Constituency Eight in the upcoming general elections.
He has pointed to fresh development out of St.Vincent and the Grenadines whereby the government is looking into carrying out of antibody rapid testing using similar sample of the nineteen (19) antibody rapid test kits which were on 26th March 2020 presented to the Ministry of Health by him (Dr. Drew) for evaluation that got rejected by the St.Kitts-Nevis government.
Dr. Drew, a specialist in internal medicine, continues to echo calls for more robust testing to be carried out in the Federation.
For him, that type of universal testing, should be conducted “to test those who are even asymptomatic and those who are in quarantine and asymptomatic; those, too, should also be tested because that is the best case scenario. The more people you test, the better is. The more testing done will result in more information we will get in order to deal with this virus.”
Junior Minister of Health Senator Wendy Phipps had initially stated at the National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC) COVID-19 Daily Briefing held on Saturday 4th April 2020 said: “We would have received a small donation from Dr. Terrance Drew in the amount of 19 test kits. Unfortunately the Ministry of Health cannot act on that donation because these test kits are written in Mandarin Chinese. The box is also in Chinese. We have no way of verifying the efficacy of the test that can be done. So for the time being we have basically shelved the donation. We acknowledge it nevertheless.”
Her comments led to a widespread public debate as many critics questioned the type of reason given. On separate occasion, Phipps has publicly talked about the growing media attention in the international press concerning test kits from China being faulty.
Those recently donated sample test kits, Dr. Drew says, came from a company that is certified by CFDA (China Food and Drug Administration) and CE, which as understood stands for “Communauté Européenne” meaning French for “European Community” with the marking used for particular products sold within the European Economic Area and is found on products sold outside the Area too.
Via a live appearance on Facebook, Dr. Drew shared with the viewers, information about the test kits and also addressed the remarks made by Phipps.
As told, those tests kits were secured by him and SKNLP leader and former Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas who is also a medical doctor; both of them being the only ones in the current political field who are doctors, and according to Dr. Drew as a result of “such it is important that we join the fight.”
“I want the people in this country to know that this is not a political issue for us. We are actually part of the medical fraternity and we want to lend a hand in fighting this disease. As I have said in the beginning it has to be an approach of all hands on deck. It is a failure for the government not to call all persons together as was done in other countries to fight this virus. We have to do it together,” Dr. Drew said.
As captured in a recent Facebook commentary by him: “Under the NextGen SKN, all health and scientific initiatives will have to comply with the highest international standards and rule of law while protecting our people and benefiting from a modernized scientific sector. That is why with the issue of the test kits, I made sure that I followed the procedure and delivered the kits to the CMO’s [Chief Medical Officer] office for evaluation.”
Dr. Drew went on to say: “In the scientific world I would be applauded for this action but in our country some have sought to drag my name through the mud to score cheap political points. However, our people are educated and know better thus this will not work.
He said the normal process is to submit new products to the CMO’s office for evaluation and then a decision is made noting “Therefore, I followed the established legal and scientific channels. I am a strict adherent to the protocols governing the Ministry of Health.”
Antibody test kits donation to the Ministry of Health from the St. Kitts-Nevis Biomedical Research Foundation by Dr. Redmond and Mr. Alexis Nisbett have been publicly applauded at a NEOC daily briefing by Senator Phipps, for which Dr. Drew holds that “it is clear that the action of the Minister of Health was politically motivated.”