Charlestown, Nevis July 27, 2007
For Immediate Public Release
Minister of Health in Nevis the Hon. Hensley Daniel gave the assurance that the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) would keep health matters in the fore. He said the Administration planned to use the recently concluded Inaugural Eastern Caribbean Conference on Health, as a springboard to improve the health services on Nevis.
He made the disclosure on Thursday July 26, 2007 during a press conference at the Nevis Credit Union Conference Room. He said a number of international and regional health agencies who had supported the first bi-annual health conference, had indicated their willingness to partner with the NIA.
“We will keep health on the top burner. We have never done this [health conference] in Nevis and this is a first and so we are going to work our health policy this way. We are going to focus on prevention, care, treatment and support but the first order of business is prevention, the second order of business is prevention and the third order of business is going to be prevention. We are going to redirect some of our resources and we have done so in the Budget last year and we are going to continue to do that so that we push the preventive measures,” he said.
Mr. Daniel explained that a number of target groups had been identified and received particular attention in the island’s health policy. The groups were made up of Children, Women, Men and Workers.He said that children were the future generation; youth were engaged in high risk behaviour which required to be toned down; women bore the children and men because they did not make it their business to check on their health status and workers secured the island’s economy.
He noted that human resource development could be crafted in relation to the needs of the community
“We [NIA] will try to ensure that we have enough professionals on board, to provide primary care because getting into secondary and tertiary care requires partners and we are going to develop and maintain partnerships with the National Institutes of Health , the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), Jackson Memorial Hospital and the National Medical Association all of which can help us to do wonderful things and of course our own regional University of the West Indies, the Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute and the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre.
“Arising out of this conference, PAHO has undertaken to conduct a situation analysis study in Nevis and they will finance that and will ensure that we have current data on which to craft health policy,” he said and added, “our policy on health arising from this conference has been given additional fillip because when I became the Minister of Health and crafted the policy on Health the Conference tells me that the policy finds favour among the critical partners and so as a result these partners will go with us.”
He said there was a need to make research a part of the culture of Nevis and the health situation as it existed, warranted immediate attention for research, an area he believed the Medical University of the Americas and others could be of help to the people of Nevis. He said it might be a useful jumping off point to pioneer research on the island.
According to Mr. Daniel, a number of persons had benefited from the Conference and if healthy living and lifestyles were promoted in Nevis the greatest beneficiary would be Social Security and by extension the people.
The Health Minister took the opportunity to thank all who made the conference a reality and singled out a number of local health professionals who resided outside of Nevis who were involved.
Meantime, Conference Committee Chairman Mr. Odell Bussue, registered his thanks to the NIA for its invaluable contribution, to what he termed was as a fight against chronic diseases in Nevis and the Organisation of East Caribbean States (OECS) Region.
“I don’t think this could have happened without the strong support of government. I want to make this very clear that Mr. [Hensley] Daniel and Mr. [Joseph] Parry from the time we discussed this, they had been behind this project 150 percent.
“They were very open to this idea and they had seen the benefits to be gained from this and I think that this is a major achievement for a new government who is willing to be open and to listen to people from the outside as well as the local people,” he said.