WORLD PEDIATRIC PROJECT INVESTIGATES EXPANSION OF EASTERN CARIBBEAN PROGRAMME

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Basseterre, St. Kitts, January 07, 2016 (SKNIS): Three officials from the World Pediatric Project (WPP) were in St. Kitts and Nevis investigating the expansion of the collaborative arrangement with the Federation that enables children to receive beneficial and life-saving medical treatment and surgery abroad on January 05.

During the brief visit, Susan Rickman, WPP President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO); and WPP Board Members Dr. Brian Clarke and Simon Carey, attended a meeting with key pediatric and general health partners including a private charity.  The WPP officials then paid a courtesy call on Governor General His Excellency Sir S.W. Tapley Seaton, and toured the pediatric and maternity wards at the Joseph N. France (JNF) General Hospital.

CEO Rickman explained that the service to the children of the Eastern Caribbean is based in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  She said that patients go there for medical attention from the other islands of the region.  The objective of the expansion is to increase the number of children who are helped.

“We’re taking care of quite a few children, but we know we need to reach more, so we know we need to scale up our programmes that we’re offering down here [Eastern Caribbean], and really get more into the other countries like St. Kitts and Nevis,” Ms. Rickman said, explaining that ensuring that children receive necessary health care is her “passion.”

She said the one day visit to the Federation would clarify the role of those involved in assisting the children and chart the way forward in how processes can run more smoothly, and effectively benefit the patients.  As such, it was critical to meet with policy-makers, doctors, donor organsations and other key players who would assist in the expansion.

“So on top of that, we are looking towards growing our funds so we can scale it up,” Ms. Rickman said, noting that funding should also be sought locally.  She explained that annually, WPP hosts two major auctions in St. Louis, USA, along with other fundraisers that support the life-saving activities undertaken by her organization. 

Honourable Eugene Hamilton, whose St. Kitts and Nevis’ ministerial portfolio includes both Health and Social Services, through which persons may seek free medical assistance, emphasized that he is a proponent of public and private sector partnerships.  He further assured that the comprehensive national health insurance that his ministry is working on would assist in ensuring that medical care is more accessible to residents.

“I believe that St. Kitts and Nevis has to see itself in a position of promoting healthcare, since it is one of the fundamental rights of our people,” Minister Hamilton emphasized.  He qualified Ms. Rickman’s call for local assistance by encouraging those attending the meeting to reach out to philanthropists who can source funding for worthy causes such as the healthcare of children.

The WPP CEO explained that the outreach to the Eastern Caribbean started in St. Vincent and the Grenadines because Richmond, Virginia, where WPP is based, had connections with the territory through doctors, and other key health officials who were already familiar with the island’s governmental officials and hospital administrators.

“So it became a natural thing for us to start coming down and looking at taking care of their kids in St. Vincent,” Ms. Rickman said.  “And then we started looking and really knowing that if St. Vincent had all these needs, then the surrounding islands must have the same needs too.  So kind of reaching out and having conversations, sure enough we realized that they did.”

It was explained that the government in St. Vincent and the Grenadines was very open and the hospital allowed the use of its operating facilities, its wards and nurses and facilitated the other needs of the visiting doctors. 

“Then we reached out with agreements in the other countries to say this is how this could work – to bring the kids in and to meet up with our specialty teams,” Ms. Rickman said, noting that WPP facilitates sub-specialty teams in urology, a spine only orthopedic team, a general surgery team out of John Hopkins, opthtomology, plastic surgery/reconstruction, pediatric cardiology, physical therapy, and pediatric neural surgery.  

She explained that each medical team goes to St. Vincent during a specific month each year for the past 13 to 14 years.  She further noted that it is usually the same doctors, surgeons and nurses who make the commitment to provide their services each year.  This, she said, ensures that local doctors know which months to prepare patients with the specified medical ailments to travel to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

By sknpulse Posted in Health

Nevis Medical Officer of Health records successes in health care delivery in 2015

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Photo caption: Medical Officer of Health in the Nevis Island Administration Dr. Judy Nisbett (file photo)

NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (January 04, 2016) — Medical Officer of Health in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) Dr. Judy Nisbett, says a number of success were recorded in the delivery of health care on the island for 2015 and projected plans for improvements in 2016.

Dr. Nisbett, spoke of the status of the delivery of health care on Nevis while she delivered her 2015 report on Public Health programmes at the recent Alexandra Hospital’s Annual Christmas Programme on the hospital’s grounds.

She said in keeping with the NIA’s aim to provide quality health care to the people of Nevis, the Public Health Department is continuing to improve its immunization service and had commenced offering a Hepatitis B vaccine at birth, instead of at a later stage.

In addition, she explained that the Polio vaccine is now being administered through an injection which is more effective than the oral administration.

Doctor Nisbett also stated that attendance at the Child Health Clinic was satisfactory and met the Health Department’s 2015 target.

She said a number of public health services continue to be offered to the public, among them Antenatal and Postnatal Care, Family Planning services, Men’s Health Care, Diabetic and Hypertension programmes and a Mental Health programme.

In the area of food-borne diseases and illnesses, Dr. Nisbett said the Environmental Health Unit continues to work with communities throughout Nevis in an effort to control the vector population of mainly rats and mosquitoes.

She noted that in an attempt to stem emerging illnesses such as the Chikungunya and Zika viral infections, both spread by the Aedes Aegypti Mosquito and Leptospirosis which is spread by rats, are kept at bay through the Environmental Health Programme.

Dr. Nisbett noted that the Port Health Programme was also recently implemented to prevent infectious diseases from entering Nevis.

Meantime, she stated that the Department is awaiting the results of a “Decayed, Missed and Filled Teeth” survey which was conducted on Primary School children in early 2015.  She said the results will serve as a guide for further intervention.

Dr. Nisbett said a number of programmes have already been targeted for further enhancement including the Oral Health Programme. It provides for all age groups and will assist with the implementation of new strategies for diabetics and antenatal care in 2016.

Also the Eye Care Programme which recently celebrated 20 years of service to Nevisians. It was started at the Alexandra Hospital by Dr. George Bresnick and continued by Dr. Raymond Hubbe. Dr. Nisbett said the programme continues to positively impact the Eye Care Services offered at the Hospital.

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By sknpulse Posted in Health

Notice – Change in administration of the Polio Vaccine

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The Ministry of Health is pleased to inform the general public, particularly parents and guardians, that effective December 16, 2015, the first dose of the polio vaccine will now be given via injection.

Previously, the polio vaccine was given orally via drops in the mouth, however, research has shown that the injectable form provides even greater protection.

As such, the health centres in St. Kitts will give the first dose of the polio vaccine as an injection at two months of age.  Following this, the oral vaccine will be given at four months and 6 months respectively, which is then followed by two boosters.

The Ministry of Health assures that the polio vaccines and other vaccines are safe and effective and will continue to be given free of charge.

For further information contact the health centre in your community or your private practitioner.

 

 

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AIDS SECRETARIAT ENGAGES BUSINESS PARTNERS ON WORLD AIDS DAY.

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Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 30, 2015 (SKNIS): As part of the activities to commemorate World AIDS Day, the National AIDS Secretariat is inviting corporate partners to take part in a new initiative dubbed “Colour Your Support,” designed to proactively prompt the partnership of the business community to join the HIV/AIDS campaign.

National AIDS Programme Coordinator, Gardenia Destang-Richardson, revealed that while the International World AIDS Day commemoration theme is “Getting to Zero – Zero HIV Infections, Zero Deaths related to HIV/AIDS and Zero Discrimination” the “Colour Your Support” Display will highlight the local theme of “Making every step count, down to zero.” 

“We’re trying to engage our business partners, where we want to solicit a positive response from them,” Mrs. Destang-Richardson said, revealing that the initiative will commence December 01. “For those businesses that have agreed, we will be providing them with a red-ribbon display with shoes on it, to literally depict making steps towards zero. Some of the displays will have high heels, stilettoes, while some will have converse shoes on them, and we are asking them [business places] to display this in their windows or someplace public, and also to provide little red ribbons to their patrons as they come in on that day.”

One activity, that took place prior to World AIDS Day, is visits to schools which ran from November 16 to 27.  Health educators visited primary and high schools, but the focus was mainly on the primary school children in grades five and six. 

The National AIDS Programme Coordinator emphasized, “one of the steps towards getting to zero is talking to children, who are not yet engaged in sexual activity, about abstinence and delaying sex and being informed to make wise choices through abstaining.”

It was also revealed that the “Ride a Bus” activity which involves health educators journeying on a particular bus route and talking directly with passengers about HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI)s, will be repeated.  Mrs. Destang Richardson noted that this has been undertaken for several years and has “always been well received.”

The annual National Testing Day has been expanded to a National Testing Week and runs from December 07 to 11.  Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) Providers who administer the HIV test, will be visiting selected sites such as business places and churches to carry out testing throughout the week.  The customary Testing Day culminates the week on December 11 and once again takes place in Independence Square.

“We have a goal by 2020 to have 90 percent of people being tested and knowing their HIV status, so we definitely have to increase and scale up our testing efforts,” the National AIDS Programme Coordinator said.

It was further revealed that Point of Care (POC) Rapid Testing will be used throughout the testing week.

“The good thing about this testing is that we’re using a different method,” Mrs. Destang-Richardson said.  “In the past we’ve used the venous method, where you have to actually draw blood from the vein but now we’re using the finger prick.   With this method, the result will be provided in a much shorter time, most definitely on the same day.  That’s the future of HIV testing for us.”

She noted that persons who take advantage of the free and confidential HIV testing can have their test results given at the same venue, by a trained VCT Provider or request to have it provided at a later time within the confines of the Provider’s office, or be sent to a particular health centre or to the office of their personal doctor.

The National AIDS Programme Coordinator demonstrated how the ABCs of HIV can be applied to the Christmas and Carnival period.   She emphasized the need to be part of the count down to zero and encouraged everyone as they take part in the festivities of the season, to be safe whether through Abstaining, Being faithful, Consistent protection-every time,Doing the HIV test for themselves andEducating themselves and others about the facts of HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections.

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By sknpulse Posted in Health

Nevis participates in health training course in Singapore.  

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(Photo caption: Nurse Ermine Jeffers Acting Coordinator of Community Nursing Services.)

NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (November 24, 2015) — The following is a press release from the Ministry of Health in the Nevis Island Administration.

The Ministry of Health is pleased to announce its participation in the training course entitled “Training in Health Policy and Community Health Services for Medical Directors, Head Nurses and Administrators from the Small Island Developing States,”  which is currently being held in Singapore.

Coordinator of Community Nursing Services (Ag), Nurse Ermine Jeffers is attending this course which commenced on 23rd November, 2015 and will conclude on 27th November, 2015.

This training exercise is sponsored jointly by the Governments of Singapore and Israel. Since 1992, the Singapore Cooperation Programme has provided technical assistance to over 100,000 officials from 170 countries.

The Nevis Island Administration welcomes this opportunity which will facilitate capacity building in the field of Public Health, which is one of the most critical departments in the Ministry of Health.

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By sknpulse Posted in Health