Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 02, 2016 (SKNIS): The Honourable Eugene Hamilton, Minister of Health, said that “delivering primary healthcare embodies the struggle for emancipation to self-determination and the best possible quality of life for all”.
Minister Hamilton was at the time delivering remarks at the opening of the Mary Charles Hospital in Molineux on Wednesday, August 31. He said that the reopening of the hospital is a clear demonstration that the most effective way to provide health care services is from communities.
“Adult suffrage gave us that, so by 1960 and 1970, a network of 17 health centers was built in St. Kitts and Nevis promoting healthcare services delivery from the communities,” said the Minister of Health, while adding that there are health centers in communities of Newtown, Irish Town, St. Peter’s, Old Road, Sandy Point, St. Pauls, Dieppe Bay, Saddlers, Tabernacle, Molineux and Cayon. “What this discloses, is that every person lives within 5 to 10 minutes of a health center; and because of that the benefits derived have been astounding over the years.”
The Minister of Health said that one way of assessing a country’s health system is the infant death rate which shows an average of 90 children died every year in St. Kitts and Nevis before their first birthday.
“Today, because of the community public health system, structured since about adult suffrage time and as a result of adult suffrage, that number has been drastically reduced,” he said. “Today, somewhere around 12 to 15 such deaths per year is not even so acceptable to our Team Unity Government and we will be working harder to ensure that we improve on that score. This improvement since adult suffrage, of which I speak, is the result of the day to day ground work of well-trained and dedicated community health nurses, district medical officers, and environmental health officers.”
He noted that well-trained people deserve to work in an environment conducive to the service that they are expected to deliver.
Minister Hamilton said that the days of children and adults dying from illnesses such as diarrhea, dehydration, pneumonia, meningitis and other diseases caused by open sewers, flies, cockroaches, rats and mosquitoes are no more. He said that the health system of today is dealing mostly with illness that comes from lifestyles that people adopt, lifestyles that cause them to develop sicknesses.