COVID-19 containment measures | 27 March 2020
Access to President’s Village barred until further notice
Access to the President’s Village at Port Glaud, which includes visits within the premises and outside to the community, have been cancelled until further notice in order to protect the children and those who are working with them from the COVID-19 threat.
This was said by Sharon Meriton Jean, spokesperson for the National Council for Children (NCC), which manages the village.
Ms Meriton Jean was sharing the President Village’s contingency plan in the fight against COVID-19 during a press conference hosted yesterday at ICCS by the Ministry of Family Affairs, NCC’s parent ministry.
Located at Port Glaud, the President’s Village currently has 32 children and 30 workers.
“With the children not going to school over the past two weeks and activities outside the village having been cancelled, the staff are trying their best to cater for these children aged between two to 17 years, some of whom were on work attachment. Some of the Child Support Officers (CSO) have volunteered to continue working inspite of having their own families and children so that the children are taken care of in this difficult time. We appreciate the help of the CSOs and supporting staff and thank them for putting these vulnerable children above their own needs,” noted Ms Meriton Jean.
Since the school stopped, all children have been briefed on the virus and all houses and CSOs have been briefed on protocols to ensure hygiene and safety of those in their care. There is also a permanent counsellor available on a day to day basis to assist the children and counsel them if required.
In the contingency plan, NCC had to take some bold steps and the parents and relatives of the residents have already been advised that access, which includes visits within the premises and outside to the community, have been cancelled until further notice in order to protect the children and those who are working with them.
Ms Meriton Jean stressed on the fact that “the facility has been equipped with food and other amenities to cater for any emergency and will call on other agencies if required. Just like at home, the CSOs are trying their best to keep the children in their charge busy through educational games and other activities without too much interaction between houses”.
A special room has also been allocated in case any of the residents and their caretakers fall sick with the virus upon which the agency responsible will take over. NCC welcomes any donations such as food supplies to help in this difficult time.
Should families, relatives and the community want to reach out to these children they are encouraged to do so during working hours by calling NCC on 4283900.
The aim of the contingency plan for COVID-19 at the President’s Village is to prevent and control the spread of the virus. NCC is conducting education sessions for the workers and residents about the virus: The health education unit in the Ministry of Health has been contacted to arrange for a date for them to deliver the sessions. There is continuous reminders about frequent hand washing and posters have already been placed in all houses.
The residents are continuously being sensitized on how to minimise the touching of the face; make sure they have sufficient sanitiser, face mask and gloves, more paper towels for frequent hand wash, cover dust bin, water dispenser in all houses, fumigation of areas frequently used and sanitary cleaning products.
The management of the President’s Village also met with their parent ministry (Ministry of Family Affairs and Social Services), Port Glaud district administrator and DRDM. They also have a detailed plan/programme to prevent the President’s Village to collapse in case the country goes into a lockdown situation. They took into consideration electricity facilities, water storage facilities, management of all NCC staff in the event of an outbreak and security of the village.