Nevis Health Minister Welcomes Free Health Care

Nevis Dentists Sees Patient For Free

Dentists Sees Patient For Free

Charlestown, Nevis
May 21, 2008

Minister of Health in the Nevis Island Administration Hon. Hensley Daniel expressed gratitude to the organisers of an ongoing five-day free health care services at the Villa in Charlestown and described Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) and Friend Ships as a partners in the delivery of health care on the island.
Mr. Daniel made the statement at an opening ceremony on May 20, 2008, to signal the start of the health care programme, which offered care free of charge in a number of areas that included dentistry and eye care.
“If it is that health is a state of mental, physical, spiritual and emotional well-being, then the presence of the organisation with its considerable human and financial resources must be seen as a vital partner in the delivery of health care here on Nevis. We believe that you agree with us that health is wealth.
“The Ministry’s Health policy is anchored on prevention, treatment, care and support. We have begun discussion on the introduction of a National Health Insurance Plan in order to secure the required financing to provide the prevention, treatment, care and support programmes,” he said.
The Health Minister pointed to the health records of Nevis and said there was a heavy debt burden on the financial resources of the island.

“Chronic diseases eat up 20-25 percent of the health budget and leads to the pauperization of the society. Chronic diseases and poverty are linked. There is a direct positive correlation between chronic diseases and poverty.
“The key risk factors are obesity, high blood pressure, alcohol, diabetes, unhealthy diets and physical inactivity. I am sure that the medical personnel here will tell you the same thing. These factors are largely socially determined so we have the keys to adequate health care in our hands. Remember we are what we repeatedly do,” he said.
According to Mr. Daniel there were more than 500 known diabetics on the island, more than 500 persons who suffered from hypertension and there were over 800 persons in the eye care programme.
He said food consumption patterns continued to put the population at risk of hypertension and that heart disease and stroke were the leading causes of death on Nevis. There was a heavy consumption of sweets which had resulted in increased tooth decay and gum disease.
The Minister said too, there were five new persons who tested positive for HIV in 2007 and there were 14 persons who had been receiving anti retro viral drugs at the cost of EC$45,000 per month.
He noted that within the last 10 months, patients who needed critical care due to rare diseases were flown overseas for medical attention by the Nevis Island Administration.
Meantime, the Minister noted that in 2007 he led a team of senior officers of the Ministry of Health who met with the management of TBN at the Mount Nevis Hotel. The management team outlined the programme and enlisted the support of the Ministry.
He said the free health care programme was postponed but the Ministry of Health was pleased that it had finally come to fruition. He decried the efforts of persons who he said attempted to preclude him from the programme and cited that he was stunned since he had been engaged with it at the outset.

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