NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Some cancer patients on Eleuthera have opted to stay on the island and wait until the country reopens before they travel to New Providence for treatment.
The Bahamas continues to rotate between a weekday 24-hour curfew and weekend nationwide lockdowns.
The country’s borders have been closed t0 international and domestic travel.
Eleuthera Cancer Society President Sherrin Cooper told Eyewitness News yesterday that there is currently only one person registered with the Family Island Cancer Society who continues to travel for treatment.
Cooper noted that that survivor completed her last chemo session on Wednesday.
She traveled to New Providence by boat.
Cooper explained that once patients are able to show the boat captain a letter from the doctor, they will be accommodated, at all times wearing a mask and practicing strict social distancing protocols.
She noted that another registered patient decided that she will not go for her treatments and has opted to wait.
“There’s some impact in that I know about three persons who were supposed to go for testing, mammograms, those two were referred, but they did not go because they could not get flights,” Cooper continued.
“They could have gone on the boat once they had doctor referrals, but they chose not to go because of fear, because they would have to remain with relatives so they say they would prefer to sit until they are able to travel and the borders are open.
“The main thing they said is they did not want to get stuck in Nassau.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted lives across the country, but in some cases, the resulting travel restrictions have severed access to critical medical treatment.
Six cancer patients from Grand Bahama were flown to Nassau for treatment on Wednesday.
The Ministry of Health provided a charter service for those patients to have their chemotherapy and other treatments done at the Oncology Centre.
Senator Dr. Michael Darville and Shadow Minister of Health has been continually agitating for cancer patients on the Family Islands to receive treatment amid the nation-wide lockdown.
“I’m happy that that’s done,” Darville said yesterday.
“It’s very important that going forward that if there’s going to be further lockdown and there’s going to be limitation for movement at the airports, the protocols must be in place for individuals who need tertiary healthcare, particularly on the Family Island and life saving treatments or even surgeries.”
Darville also questioned whether the individuals are reportedly being accommodated along with people being quarantined for COVID-19.
“I’m concerned about that because those individuals are already immunocompromised and you cannot mix these individuals with individuals who are suspected COVID-19 patients.”