On a wing and a prayer

THE Billy Graham Rapid Response Team is sending chaplains to Nassau to help with the Samaritan’s Purse emergency field hospital that is being set up to treat COVID-19 patients.

The team is a crisis-chaplaincy ministry of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

“After Hurricane Dorian, we sent more than 100 crisis-trained chaplains to four locations across The Bahamas.

“We consider it a blessing for our chaplains to return to the islands to serve alongside Samaritan’s Purse with the opportunity to share the hope found in Jesus Christ with the doctors, nurses, and the community,” said Josh Holland, assistant director of the RRT.

“These coronavirus deployments are groundbreaking and different than anything we have done before.

“We have deployed to more than 450 natural and man-made disasters, but until this year we had never responded to a health crisis.”

RRT chaplains also served at emergency field hospitals that were set up in Cremona, Italy, New York City, and the Navajo Nation during the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this week it was announced that Samaritan’s Purse – which offered assistance to Abaco and Grand Bahama in the wake of Hurricane Dorian – has partnered with the government to provide a 28-bed COVID-19 isolation and treatment unit.

The move will help to increase patient capacity as the country tries to deal with the pandemic.

The facility will be tents set up next to Princess Margaret Hospital. It will also serve as a COVID-19 referral centre for The Bahamas. It will not include ICU treatment. No ventilators will be provided nor operated by Samaritan’s Purse.

Samaritan’s Purse will provide the unit and all staffing to operate for three to six weeks. There will be 30 staff members, including medical professionals and operations staff.

The organisation will also provide infection prevention control training to protect Bahamian healthcare workers. Public health staff will work alongside Samaritan’s Purse. The treatment unit will be donated to the government upon Samaritan’s Purse’s departure. The set-up of the unit is expected to begin by the end of the week.

Samaritan’s Purse is an international, non-denominational, evangelical, Christian disaster relief organisation.