Top award for lab worker who worked ‘tirelessly throughout pandemic’
A lab worker with the Department of Health was declared the winner of the Public Health Professional Award for her work in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sakina Usher, a clinical laboratory supervisor, was credited for working behind the scenes to ensure that supplies and equipment were in place for on-island Covid-19 testing.
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health said: “At the beginning of the pandemic, when there were global shortages of supplies including swabs, Ms Usher worked with a team to determine how to get around these issues.
“The ability for the island to carry out its own testing had a huge impact on the fight against Covid-19.
“Her work helped to shape how testing was carried out, and working with various teams to determine best practices, allowed Bermuda to establish robust systems to tackle Covid-19.
“Ms Usher worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic, giving up weekends and holidays to ensure that Bermuda always had what was needed.”
Ms Usher received her award last week at the Careers in Public Health Fair held at Hamilton City Hall.
While Ms Usher won the individual prize, the award for organisations was presented to representatives of the Bermuda Red Cross for their work assisting the Department of Health had the manpower it required.
The spokeswoman said: “Responders and volunteers were on-call seven days a week during the peak of the pandemic and ensured that no task went unnoticed or undelivered.”
The charity also provided and distributed over 300,000 disposable face masks to the most vulnerable members of the community and other critical third sector organisations providing goods and services to the community.
David Kendell, the Director of the Department of Health, and Lynn Jackson, Chief Nursing Officer, assisted Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, in presenting the awards to the winners.
Ms Wilson praised those who chose to tackle “diverse and challenging” careers in public health.
She said: “Public health may conjure images of community medical clinics or awareness campaigns promoting healthy living, but the field is not nearly so narrow.
“Instead, public health professionals are involved in everything from identifying diseases to ensuring healthy and safe environments to creating public policy.
“Now more than ever, most of the world has witnessed a public health crisis first-hand, and there will be no shortage or demand for well-trained public health professionals.”