Vincentian divers will have a new safety net when the Government procures a Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy chamber; this allows for divers who experience decompression sickness or “Bends” to be treated locally.
Minister of Finance Hon Camillo Gonsalves said; “I received yesterday from the Chief Medical Officer the final specifications for a containerized hyperbaric chamber, with the Cabinet’s approval and with the specifications now in hand I can promise the conch fishers of Union Island, Canuoan, Bequia and indeed of St. Vincent and the Grenadines that you would be able to dive more safely, and the government will be your partner in this effort to help you build wealth.”
The Minister made the announcement during the official launch of operations of Rainforest Seafood’s processing plant at Calliaqua on July 15, 2022.
For a number of years, divers who experienced decompression sickness or “Bends” were treated regionally as Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy was not available in country, and in some cases, this resulted in deaths of fishermen.
The acquisition of this machine is in line with the Government’s objective to promote safety and to improve the overall welfare of the local fisher folk. As Rainforest Seafood Caribbean cements itself locally, it is expected that there will be an increase of entrants to the fisheries sector as demand for local seafood and particularly Queen Conch increases.
In addition to treatment of decompression sickness, the hyperbaric chamber can be used to treat serious infections, air bubbles in blood vessels, and diabetic wounds that may not be healing effectively with other treatment.
In a hyperbaric chamber ‘air pressure is increased two to three times higher than normal air pressure. Under these conditions, your lungs can gather much more oxygen than would be possible breathing pure oxygen at normal air pressure”.