NIA provides further relief for women by offering free referrals in addition to free mammograms

Premier of Nevis the Honourable Mark Brantley


NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (October 25, 2023)- The Nevis Island Administration (NIA) has moved with alacrity to assist women in getting screened for breast cancer by offering free doctor referrals in addition to the free mammogram services the government has been providing for the past several months.

Premier of Nevis the Honourable Mark Brantley announced the additional relief measure on Tuesday, October 24, during his monthly press conference.

“Some women nevertheless complained because in order to access the service at the hospital they needed a referral from a doctor and some said it was difficult because the doctor would charge them $200 for the visit. So even though the mammogram at the Alexandra Hospital was free they still had to have money to pay the doctor.

“And we have responded to that concern and said to our women for those who say they cannot afford the doctor’s fee, go to the health centre and the doctor who is attending at the health centre will give you a referral for free to then go to the hospital to get the mammogram service for free for the rest of this year.”

Minister of Health in the Nevis Island Administration the Honourable Jahnel Nisbett beside the new Philips (Planmed Clarity 3D) mammography system at the Alexandra Hospital

Doctors will be on hand at the Butlers Health Centre from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on Mondays, the Brownhill Health Centre from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Tuesdays, the Gingerland Health Centre and the Cotton Ground Health Centre from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on Wednesdays, the Charlestown Health Centre from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on Thursdays, and the Combermere Health Centre from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on Fridays.

“The evidence suggests that mammograms are the best tool available for detecting breast cancer, especially detecting it early… and we have said to our women, if you are over 40 especially, it is recommended that you get a mammogram done at least once per year.

“So we are hopeful that by the end of the year all of those who fall into that category who are encouraged to get a mammogram, that they will go and avail themselves of this service. We don’t want anyone to have any excuses. Your health is in your hands. We want you to take advantage of what we’re trying to do to have as many women as possible screened for breast cancer.”

The Premier commended Minister of Health the Hon. Jahnel Nisbett and her team at the Ministry for heeding the plight of those in need and thanked the Minister for bringing it to the Cabinet, where the idea garnered the full support of its members.

Some 189 persons have already taken advantage of the free mammography service since the installation of the equipment in June.

Effective January 01, 2024, a fee of $300 will be charged for the mammogram service at the hospital, the same rate as is being charged on St. Kitts.

Meantime, the NIA has employed Dr. Adelkis Licort, its first resident pathologist, in order to strengthen the health delivery team at the Alexandra Hospital. Radiologists are specialized doctors who analyze medical diagnostic images such as ultrasounds, X-rays, and CT scan.

Premier Brantley noted that her addition to the team will help to expedite the return of radiological reports for doctors to diagnose and treat illness and injury, as images will now be examined at the hospital instead of having to be sent to St. Kitts for analysis.

The Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM)-led administration has been systematically investing in new diagnostic tools for the island’s main medical institution, the Alexandra Hospital with the installation of new mammography machines, CT scan machine, advanced X-ray equipment, echocardiogram equipment and ultra sound machine.

“I think that these are important steps forward for our healthcare system and all of these equipment represent a first for Nevis. These are very important developments in healthcare not only in Nevis but across the Federation,” said the Honourable Brantley.

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