(CMR) As the Cayman Islands transitions to living safely and responsibly with COVID-19, Dr. Nick Gent, the new Chief Medical Officer, said his vision is to ensure that the lessons of the pandemic are not forgotten but are used to shape public health policy.
“My main duty as the Chief Medical Officer is to help the Ministry of Health and Wellness and Cabinet to develop good, evidence-based public health policy that will withstand the next ten to twenty years,” Dr Gent stated, noting that while his contract is for three years his aim is to lay a foundation that will last beyond his tenure.
Dr. Nick Gent has hit the ground running since his arrival to take up his role as the CMO. After a short bout of ill health, Dr. Gent took up office on 10 October. Since then, the new CMO has been kept busy with introductions, meetings, presentations, and several media appearances.
Dr. Gent’s arrival coincided with the rollout of the Moderna (bivalent) COVID-19 fall booster campaign, so within days of his arrival, the CMO was sharing his knowledge, answering questions, and encouraging Cayman’s most vulnerable to take the booster.
The Ministry of Health and Wellness said Strengthening public health nationally is a priority, and Dr. Gent expects this goal to be achieved through several vital actions: strengthening local epidemiology services, acquiring data to determine the actual state of health of the population, and setting up systems to ensure continuous monitoring of that information. Essential actions also include introducing data-driven interventions and programming to help improve the lives and wellness of Caymanians and residents, and “getting the core of public health right.”
“When we talk about the core of public health, we are talking about high immunization rates, good screening rates, healthy lifestyle, and good clinical care access. We need to take stock of where we are and make sure that the basics are right,” Dr. Gent added.
Hon. Sabrina Turner, Minister for Health and Wellness, who introduced Dr. Gent to Cabinet on 18 October, expressed her enthusiasm in having the new CMO join her Ministry.
“Having Dr. Gent on the team is an exciting milestone for us at the Ministry of Health and Wellness as we continue to reach our strategic broad outcomes and the big project of improving and strengthening public health nationally,” Minister Turner said.