CHARLESTOWN, Nevis - AS the Federation joined the rest of the world in recognising Saturday (Nov. 14) as World Diabetes Day, Junior Minister of Health in the Nevis Island Administration, Hazel Brandy-Williams had acknowledged the role nurses play in providing care for persons with the ailment.
In her address to recognise diabetes prevention, the Minister reminded that nurses are at the forefront of healthcare and play a pivotal role in monitoring and protecting the population’s health.
The Minister also explained that with chronic diseases such as diabetes requiring long-term care and management to attain proper control and prevent complications, nurses are the ones who provide assistance to help individuals and their families to “navigate through the battery of test and medical care required”.
“As a Government, we have committed to invest in the local nursing body to make certain that they acquire the necessary skills through ongoing training and capacity building. This, we hope, will improve their ability to provide support and to guide persons living with diabetes and those at risk of developing the disease,” Minister Brandy-Williams explained.
Against that backdrop, the Minister stated that there is a shortage of nurses the world over and, addressing that problem, the World Health Organisation suggested that the nurse pool needs to be increased by eight percent per annum.
Speaking from a local perspective, the Minister explained that the island of Nevis has seen a decline in the number of registered nurses providing care at the local health institutions due to either retirement or migration.
She noted that there are currently only 35 registered trained nurses employed in institutional services and 10 nurses in community services.
“This cadre is supported by a team of enrolled nursing assistants, community health workers and other supporting staff in managing the 470 registered diabetics on record.
“Despite our shortages, they work continuously in collaboration with other health care providers in both the public and private sectors to provide screening, educational and outreach activities, foot care, self-management and other essential services for prevention and control,” she explained.
Concerns are being expressed over the level of cases of non-communicable diseases, including diabetes.
St. Kitts and Nevis has been troubled by this issue and health officials are raising concerns as it continues to affect the state of health care provided in the Federation.