Chief Medical Officer Addresses CARPHA Report

PatrickMartin-1ZIZ News — Days following the public release of the CARPHA report on the environmental and health status of the Basseterre High School, the federation’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Patrick Martin, is stating his professional opinion on its findings.

In an exclusive interview with ZIZ News on Thursday, Dr. Martin noted that while the report contained a lot of technical jargon, its major findings and recommendations were stated plainly in a manner everyone would understand.

Most importantly however, Dr. Martin said that the report suggested there was nothing unusual or unexpected in the report.

“The CARPHA report on the Basseterre High School was a very thorough document. It’s comprehensive, it’s professionally done, it’s easy to read and the way it is laid out persons can follow the logical flow from what they were asked to do; what they did; what they found and what was recommended. Essentially there’s no unusual and nothing unexpected taking place at the Basseterre High School. There was interior water damage, what is expected from that is proliferation of mould if the surfaces are not kept clean and if the water damage is not fixed what is expected is that mould would proliferate because mould is everywhere; it’s ubiquitous in our environment. And the particular mould that was found in one room, the Theatre Arts Office next to the auditorium on the western campus, that particular mould species is known to colonized warm, moist surfaces,” Dr Martin disclosed.

He noted that extensive work, which had been done on the Basseterre High School between 2013 and now, had been able to limit the mould issue to the Theatre Arts Building.

He continued that remedial measures were already being taken by the Ministry of Health to address the recommendations made, not only by CARPHA, but those of the CARIRI, Whitaker and Williams review committee reports as well.

“In essence, CARPHA went from room to room on both campuses and also surveyed the surrounding areas and found mould in one room on the western campus and the Ministry of Education has already started a programme of work to complete all the recommendations made by the various committees and reports. There’s the report by Dr. Whitaker, who supervised the work of the Bureau of Standards and the Environmental Health Department, they were first on the scene. Then there are the recommendations from CARIRI one and CARIRI report two, recommendations of the Clem “Bouncing” Williams Review Committee which basically said that the CARIRI first report was credible and it’s a mould issue and then CARPHA had some additional recommendations.”

Dr. Martin suggested that the CARPHA report also bore out the findings of CARIRI report one, in that no connection could be made between the species of mould identified in the single building at BHS and fungal skin infections treated among the school’s faculty and students.

“Yes, there were reports from physicians of fungal skin infections but when we in the Ministry of Health looked at the diagnoses of the skin infections versus the fungus or the fungi that were identified in CARIRI report number one, there was no match. And so this lack of correlation was reaffirmed in the CARPHA report and it was so stated.”

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