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Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon. Audley Shaw, is encouraging the island’s public transport operators to take care of their health and wellbeing.

Speaking at the handover of three dialysis machines to the Spanish Town Hospital in St. Catherine on Wednesday (September 14), for the benefit of patients with renal failure, Minister Shaw pointed out that “operators in the public transport sector are particularly prone to illnesses such as these, as they spend much of their days seated behind the wheel driving from one place to another.”

He said while it is preferred that no transport operator uses the dialysis machines, the possibility of this remains ever-present.

“I, therefore, remind all public transport operators to take care of themselves so they can continue to take care of their families and communities. Get your regular checkups, eat right, exercise, [and] take your [medication] when needed,” the Minister said.

Mr. Shaw noted that even as the operators perform their duties, they can take deliberate steps to lead an active life.

“You only get one body to last you a lifetime and when you stop, say at the transport centre, or somewhere, get out and walk around while the people are coming off and going on [the vehicles],” he advised.

Transport Authority Managing Director, Willard Hylton, who concurred with the Minister, said operators of public passenger vehicles “remain one of those vulnerable groupings”.

He said operators who remain seated for extended periods daily are susceptible to developing kidney disease.

Mr. Hylton emphasised that with the donation of the machines, it is hoped that more persons who may require treatment, including members of staff at the Transport Authority, their immediate families, and operators in the sector, will be able to access this provision.

“That is the main reason we are investing, because our people need help in an efficient way,” he noted.

The three dialysis machines were procured at a cost of nearly $13 million, through a partnership between the Transport Authority and the National Health Fund (NHF).

They will complement the 10 refurbished hemodialysis machines, valued over $28 million, from Florida-based entity, Renal Dynamics, which were handed over to the hospital earlier this week.

“Today’s donation shows that the Transport Authority is not only in the business of regulating our public transport sector but has a vested interest in our transport operators’ well-being,” Minister Shaw said.

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