Dr. Tracey Bovell receives OAS award for good practices in women’s leadership

In the upcoming Organization of American States (OAS) Summit, the OAS will recognize women in leadership in the Americas. The awards will be made for Good Practices in Women’s Leadership. Today, the Ministry of Health received notification from the OAS that Dr. Tracey Bovell, one of the nominees made by the Honorable Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, is one of the women selected to receive this distinguished and prestigious award from the OAS. She will receive her award during the summit in the presence of almost every Head of State from the Americas. The award ceremony will be held during the IX Summit of the Americas on June 9, 2022, in Los Angeles, California.

The Minister of Health, on behalf of the Ministry of Health, joins with the GPHC to extend congratulations to Dr. Tracey Bovell, a consultant in Emergency Medicine at the GPHC on her being recognized internationally for the distinguished, excellent and compassionate leadership she provided in the treatment and care of COVID-19 patients in Guyana. This award is for women leaders in the whole of the Americas. The Ministry of Health and the GPHC are proud of the achievement of a young professional at the GPHC. Dr. Tracey Bovell’s accomplishment is one that every Guyanese can be proud of. 

Dr. Tracey Bovell is presently the doctor-in-charge and the lead-doctor in the Infectious Disease Hospital at Lillendall, a part of the Georgetown Hospital Corporation. The Ministry of Health nominated Dr. Bovell and a group of distinguished citizens from around the Americas selected Dr. Bovell as one of the awardees at the upcoming OAS Summit. Dr. Tracey Bovell will receive the award for Good Practices in Women’s Leadership under the category of Women’s Leadership in the Response to the COVID-19 Crisis.  

The Infectious Disease Hospital (COVID-19 Hospital) opened its doors for operation in September 2020. Since that time, every critically-ill COVID-19 patient has been treated at the hospital, the hospital being the National Referral Hospital for critically-ill COVID-19 patients. The hospital has often been fully occupied with more than 100 critically-ill patients and often with more than 30 patients in ICU, ventilator-dependent treatment. Since September 2020, the Infectious Disease Hospital has treated more than 3,500 patients. The infectious Disease Hospital is a one-hundred and ninety five – bed hospital with capacity for ventilator-based treatment, surgeries, dialysis, radiological and imaging interventions. The hospital catered for adults and children and provided complete maternal care for COVID-19- affected women. The Infectious Disease Hospital has a staff of over 250 persons. 

While Dr. Bovell has been in charge and provided leadership for the operationalization and the functioning of the Infectious Disease Hospital from the very beginning in September 2020, her leadership in the fight against COVID-19 started even before that. Dr. Bovell was part of the clinical team that crafted the COVID-19 response from the time COVID-19 became a pandemic. Guyana’s first case of COVID-19 was confirmed and the first COVID-19 mortality was on March11, 2020.  

Dr. Bovell was appointed at the time (March 2020) as the Chairperson for the GPHC COVID-19 Taskforce. She led a team of specialists from various departments of the hospital to craft the first set of protocols and guidelines for COVID-19, including the protocols for diagnosis, treatment and occupational health and safety. As part of her responsibilities, Dr. Bovell led sensitization sessions with health care providers and other staff in the health sector and other sectors in all ten geographic regions of Guyana.

In the early days when COVID-19 caused intense illness and had a high mortality rate, Dr. Bovell fearlessly became the face of the treatment program. Yet, she found time to communicate with family and friends of those who were critically-ill and who could not benefit from families being around them. In the face of high mortality among critically-ill COVID-19 patients, Dr. Bovell remained resilient, determined and compassionate in her quest to ensure that patients were receiving quality care.

The Minister, the Ministry of Health and the GPHC recognize that Dr. Bovell could not have succeeded alone. The support and equal dedication and commitment from many doctors, nurses, technologists, other allied healthcare providers played a significant role in Guyana being able to provide quality and life-saving treatment to thousands of Guyanese who survived the vicious and deadly illnesses that COVID-19 caused. In recognizing the contributions and the leadership of Tracey Bovell, we also recognize the meritorious service from hundreds of healthcare providers. Dr. Bovell’s recognition is recognition for all of them. 

Dr. Bovell’s leadership in the COVID-19 response has made an indelible mark in the story of public health in Guyana. Dr. Bovell is a Woman of Worth in our country. The Minister of Health, the Ministry and the GPHC are proud that the OAS has recognized one of our own among women leaders in the COVID-19 response. For her dedication and commitment, Guyana is highly indebted to this young doctor. We are grateful that the OAS has assisted us in recognizing her work.

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