Senior health officials highlight significance of Community Health Nurses on Nevis

Ms. Latoya Jeffers, Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Health on Nevis
Ms. Latoya Jeffers, Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Health on Nevis

NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (May 04, 2021) — The importance of community health nurses was highlighted by senior health officials at the 6th annual Community Health Districts reporting exercise which was held at the St. Paul’s Anglican Church Hall on April 30, 2021.

Ms. Latoya Jeffers, Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Health, speaking on behalf of Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams, Junior Minister of Health, underscored the critical role the nurses play in health care on Nevis.

“Community Health Nursing is a very vital component of Public Health as it aids with prolonging life. It is essential because there is ease of access to the population to educate them about healthy living, detect health issues early and provide treatment to prevent health problems. One of the essential roles of Community Health Nursing is to institute health programmes to educate the public on health matters…

Dr. Judy Nisbett, Medical Officer of Health in the Nevis Island Administration
Dr. Judy Nisbett, Medical Officer of Health in the Nevis Island Administration

“The nurses continue to do a commendable job and we at the administrative level will do our part to ensure that the health centres are well equipped with the necessary resources, human and otherwise, to deal with the demands of our population. I pledge to continue to working along with all you so that community health nursing keeps providing the best care possible to the public,” she said.

Ms. Jeffers added that each year the health centres hold educational workshops, hand out fliers, conduct health screenings, dispense medication and administer immunizations in an effort to provide proper health care in all communities.

Dr. Judy Nisbett, Medical Officer of Health, reminded the nurses of their importance to the community.

“As Public Health nurses/Community Health nurses, you are critical. You must never take your role for granted. Public health nursing came about when there was much disease, many of which were preventable, and life expectancy was low. Children were dying. Adults were dying.

“So public health nursing focused and still focuses on prevention of illness, injury or disability, the promotion of health, and maintenance of the health of populations so your role as I said is critical,” she said.

The senior health officer also thanked the nurses for their contribution to the delivery of health care on Nevis.

“I want to reiterate that you are important, [an] important part of our health system. You are valued, and very much appreciated as you take care of your clients from the ‘womb to the tomb.’ You assist the Ministry of Health in providing health care that is accessible, available and affordable. Thank you for your contribution,” she said.

Commenting on the reporting exercise, Dr. Nisbett pointed out that the exercise afforded nurses the opportunity to reflect, evaluate, chart new paths, implement new ideas and improve on areas they deem necessary.

The Medical Officer of Health expressed hope that the nurses did not look at compiling their reports as a chore but as an opportunity to truthfully evaluate the services they have provided over the past year and even over the past five- to 10-year trends.

“Every time we have this exercise it must be with the aim in mind to find our gaps, do a [Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats] SWOT analysis as it were, identifying our strengths, our weakness and also our opportunities for more successful programming and the threats that can derail our programmes,” she said.

At the April 30th event, community health district reports were made by representatives of the Combermere, Cotton ground, Gingerland, Charlestown, Brown Hill and Butlers health centres, as well as the Mental Health Unit.

Other remarks were made by Ms. Shelisa Martin-Clarke, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, and Ms. Ermine Jeffers, Coordinator of Community Nursing Services who chaired the event.

Among those present were Hon. Mark Brantley, Minister of Health; Mrs. Eren Hanley, Health Planner; and Dr. Retna Walwyn- Browne.

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