The University of the West Indies (The UWI) is again launching a task force to assist with the mobilisation of the region’s public health providers to deal with any incoming virus.
“Four years ago, the Zika virus triggered the response; today it is COVID-19,” the UWI said on Friday (Feb. 28).
The task force will be chaired by the UWI’s Professor Clive Landis, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Undergraduate Studies and former Director of the George Alleyne Chronic Disease Research Centre, who has considerable experience in the field of Caribbean public health.
The university noted that it is currently delivering a software engineering degree programme at its joint Institute in Suzhou, China, and has a large registered cohort of Caribbean students there.
The institution further indicated that it is engaged directly with public health officials in Suzhou, Caribbean diplomatic corps in Beijing, and the leadership of its partner university, the Global Institute for Software Engineering (GIST).
Vice-Chancellor of UWI, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles stated that “against the background of dealing with its internal affairs in China, The UWI has been working in close collaboration with regional health ministries and the relevant CARICOM agencies.”
The purpose, he added, is to “provide the necessary scientific data on the virus and to work with government colleagues in creating an effective communications strategy for the region”.
He stressed that the task force will have a critical role to play in solutions building in the immediate future”.