(L-R) Dr. Warren Shatz and Dr. Raymond Hubby
May 16, 2008
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health on Nevis Mrs. Jocelyn Liburd underscored the Nevis Island Administration’s (NIA) pledge to provide continued health care on Nevis and said the ongoing Eye Care Programme would receive all the necessary assistance to ensure continuity.
Mrs. Liburd told the Department of Information in a on May 15, 2008, that amid concerns surrounding the duration of the programme, the Administration had worked assiduously to ensure that it did not end following the retirement of visiting eye care specialist Dr. George Bresnick (who retired in 2007) from a voluntary service he had given to patients on Nevis for 12 years.
“We are committed to continue the programme even through difficult recruitment of professionals. What we are trying to do as an Administration, is to retain the services a resident ophthalmologist who will engage in follow up and to deliver emergency eye care,” she said.
According to Mrs. Liburd, in the interim, the Administration had utilised the services of an ophthalmologist who was resident in Antigua and held follow up clinics on Nevis and other islands.
Notwithstanding, eye care specialist Dr. Raymond Hubby from Massachusetts, USA, along with his business partner over Dr. Warren Shatz, who took over the eye care clinic from Dr. Bresnick, hailed the NIA for its collaborative effort to continue the programme.
He pointed to the importance of the ongoing programme, which he said made treatment more available to the population and in some cases prevented blindness.
“Having local eye care really makes treatment more available to the people on the island and the treatment for glaucoma and cataracts, diabetes can prevent blindness basically and with diabetic changes in glaucoma, the changes that happen are not reversible if they do happen that’s why we have to catch it up front and treat it up front before the damage is done.
“That’s why I think it is important to have an ongoing eye care programme where we could come in once a while to take care of problems that have gotten too bad. We want to prevent the problems,” he said.
Dr. Hubby noted too, that during their sessions in April-May and October-November the treatment of cataracts had been effective and the patients were lucky to have cataract surgeon Dr. Russel Osnius also involved in the programme. Dr. Osnius has held surgical clinics on Nevis every October for the last nine years.
At present, Dr. Hubby said they were at best in the process of trying to recreate what Dr. Bresnick had left had also add to the services offered.
“I think with time as we move forward, certainly we will want to incorporate new things that we find helpful to the community here for the eye care. Actually one thing that we have added this year is laser treatments for glaucoma. I think that is one thing that Dr. Bresnick had not been doing and both Dr. Shatz and myself have that experience, so we felt that it was something that we could add to the programme and we hope to do even more of it in the upcoming session”¦
“We were on the island this year for two weeks in April/May. I think in the future we are going to try to have it for a longer period of time. It was very busy and intense for those two weeks and I think we will be able to handle more patients and do more and different kinds of interventions if we have more time,” he said.
Dr. Hubby also complemented the support staff involved in the programme for a “wonderful job” in the execution of the clinics over the years.