NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Newly sworn in Minister of Health Renward Wells today defended his appointment to oversee the healthcare sector and systems of The Bahamas as a non-medical professional.
“There are lots of countries around the globe at this time who have ministers of health that are not doctors and some of them have been doing quite well with the pandemic,” Wells said at Government House after being sworn in.
“We have Singapore that has an electrical engineer as the minister of health. I happen to be a mechanical engineer and I think the response of Singapore in regards to how it has handled the COVID-19 has been excellent.
“Taiwan, I do believe that perhaps the minister of health in Taiwan may be a dentist.
“Canada, I believe may not have a minister of health who is a doctor and New Zealand, and a couple of other countries that are escaping me at this point in time.”
Non-doctors have served as previous ministers of health in The Bahamas.
Former PLP Cabinet minister Loftus Roker, an educator and attorney, served as minister of health in 1971.
Today, Wells said he plans to follow his mandate to move the ministry forward progressively.
When asked about assuming the post amid a second wave of COVID cases, the minister said the prime minister has put the nation on notice of measures upcoming and others that could take place if the situation worsens.
He called on Bahamians and residents to be disciplined.
As it relates public communications from the minister, Wells said he does not foresee any changes and the technical professionals will continue to update the nation on “where we are and where we intend to go”.