Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 14, 2019 (SKNIS): The Honourable Eugene Hamilton, Minister of Health, encouraged nurses in St. Kitts and Nevis to be more involved and engaged in the discussions on universal health care coverage that is to be implemented in the Federation.
Minister Hamilton was at the time speaking at the 2019 Nurses Symposium, Awards and Luncheon ceremony on Friday, May 10, an event that formed part of the local week of activities to commemorate International Nurses’ Day, which is observed on May 12 annually. He noted that he expected to see more involvement from the nurses during the consultation stages, adding that it is not too late to do.
“At this point I still urge you to become more engaged and involved in the policy directions of our country as we chart the course for universal health ahead,” said Minister Hamilton. “I expect critical questions to be asked, to be raised, and I expect that when the questions are asked that we have robust debate about those questions.”
One important question Minister Hamilton raised was that of the need for more scientific research so as to understand the adverse effect of what humans consume as food. Important to note, he said that a suggestion was made to Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, to create an additional ministry to deal with scientific research, development and innovation.
“Why? Because I believe it is time for our nations, in fact the world… to understand what is imported into our food chain. Test every canned stuff coming here to see what if is lined with and what those enzymes or chemicals do over time to our bodies,” he said. “It is time for our own scientific research of what we consume because I hold the view… that most of these things start in the gut.”
The health minister said that universal health care “is the next stage of development” in St. Kitts and Nevis’ “healthcare delivery services”, adding that nurses “play a most critical part in the delivery of those services.”
He stated that although it will be a costly initiative, it will prove beneficial to all.
“In pursuit of this objective of universal health care for all we have talked the talk and we are walking the walk,” he said, while referencing the committee that was established to “have consultations, interact with the various sectors of the public, twin with the University of the West Indies Health Economic Unit to design a plan that this nation can deliberate upon and make a decision on how we move going forward.”
The St. Kitts and Nevis National Commission for Universal Health Care began an extensive public consultation campaign on Monday, November 12, 2018, offering an opportunity to all citizens and residents to have a say in customizing their future medical protection. Members of the National Commission and technical experts presented on the Green Paper for St. Kitts and Nevis’ Universal Health Insurance Coverage Plan and outlined proposed details for financing options, collection of data, and proposed benefit packages for the country.