Charlestown, Nevis (April 10, 2007)
Forty one health service professionals on Nevis were honoured for their sterling contributions of 25 years and over to the development of Nevis. The event was hosted by the Ministry of Health to mark World Health Day 2007 at the Old Manor Hotel on April 7th with the theme “Invest in Health Build a Safer Future”.
Minister of Health in the Nevis Island Administration during remarks said the Nevis Island Administration had recognised the immediate need to invest in the human resource capability in the health service professionals on the island if it is to avert a crisis.
He said the Administration had already taken steps and made training of health service professionals a priority, an initiative he had intimated to a number of young persons who had indicated an interest in pursuing studies at college and university.
“At the moment [our priority] as it stands, is in human resource development and as such persons wishing to pursue studies, if those studies have to do with the health service professions specifically as they relate to nursing, pharmacists, medical technologists and biomedical engineering, those areas become critical for us to sustain our investment in health and to enable us to build a better future,” he said.Mr. Daniel thanked the honourees and expressed gratitude and appreciation for their efforts to ensure that the people of Nevis had enjoyed basic health care and said that the future of the society lay in their hands.
The Health Minister remarked that World Health Day was celebrated in the context of a heavy disease burden in the community thank the health service workers for their assistance in the reduction of the disease burden with particular respect to chronic diseases.
He advised the awardees that each health service professional was responsible for raising the status of the profession since they were responsible for guarding the profession and urged them to remain committed and dedicated in whatever area they served in within the profession.
The Minister assured the honourees that they would receive maximum support from the Ministry of Health as it related to training to ensure equity, efficiency and orderliness in the system.
“Please be assured of the Ministry’s support in helping the professionals to achieve their goals in the service and I want to repeat our commitment to separate the nursing profession in particular, from the other sections of the civil service. We are in the process [of] working on that and the process of consultation with you to fine tune that”¦
“We recognise that as ministers in the Nevis Island Administration we are responsible for helping our health service professionals to see their roles as critical to the development of the country”¦but it is also very important to partner us in ensuring that you continue as health service professionals to command central place in the scheme of things,” he said.
Meantime, during remarks Premier of Nevis the Hon. Joseph Parry pleaded to the nurses who had reached their maximum requirement for retirement to hold on and to remain in the service a while longer.
“We want you to hold on, we want you to hold strain, hold strain don’t go home yet, we need you! The truth is, you have been trained all these years and you have so much experience and if you take your experience away, you are going to leave a serious vacuum which we will not be able to fill easily.
It’s ok to go wherever and bring someone in but you can’t have a replacement for a Nevisian working in their community. You are totally committed, you have family, you know everybody and you are not just doing it for the money because it is your country so hold strain, hold strain,” he said.
Mr. Parry also hailed the efforts of the honourees which he cited had held the community of Nevis together for many years. He also called on them to see themselves as professionals that held a special place in the community and who had saved Nevis lots of money, even though like policemen and teachers had done much but were often taken for granted.
During the ceremony which was followed by a cocktail reception, Mr. Wrenford Dore made a tribute in song and Mrs. Patricia Hanley Advisor to Health rendered a poem to the awardees while Mrs. Dawn Jeffers gave them words of encouragement. The ceremony was chaired by Mrs. Joslyn Liburd Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health.