Charlestown, Nevis (April 07, 2007)
Minister of Health in the Nevis Island Administration the Hon. Hensley Daniel commended health workers on Nevis for their contribution to human and social development citing that the key to economic and social advancement rested in their hands.
The Minister made the comment during an address to mark the World Health Organisation (WHO) World Health Day on April 7 in Nevis. This year’s theme is “International Health Security” with the slogan “Invest in health, build a safer future”.
He said the Nevis Reformation led Nevis island Administration was committed to ensuring that health systems remained a priority and it had shifted its focus from curative care to prevention.
“We have strengthened the Health Promotion Unit to raise the awareness of health care and secure a greater commitment at the individual family and community level.
“We will shortly start a recruitment process for nurses that will include the financing of training. We will also introduce sessional nursing to address the nursing shortage in the short to medium term,” he said.According to the Health Minister, when health threats become great and threaten a country’s infrastructure, health system and its neighbours’, only a global vision of health shared by all countries and promoted by the WHO could build trust and improve international health security.
He said that each nation’s capacity to prevent and manage public health emergencies and to be a part of joint initiatives with other countries, was vital to the decreased vulnerability of health threats, increased international health security, broader partnerships and to build diplomatic relations.
Mr. Daniel noted that the world would be in a position to address any challenges if all stake holders worked together in an effective manner, to address local public health challenges.
In his view, there were five key issues which impacted public health: Economic Stability, Environmental Change, AIDS, building Health Security and Strengthening Health Systems.
With regard to economic stability, he explained that global challenges resulted in health and economic consequences but the management of the international spread of disease was a prerequisite to economic and social development.
He acknowledged that climate changes had a growing impact on health, which occurred in developing countries which had limited resources to deal with the health and infrastructure consequences.
Mr. Daniel believed that the WHO, ministries of health and the health sector had distinct roles to play to encourage countries to adopt environmental conservation policies.
In relation to HIV/AIDS, the Health Minister noted that abstinence and behaviour change should continue to be advocated to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS and thereby avert social and economic dislocation.
He said the disease represented a real threat to the social and economic development of Nevis and an increased rate of infection would consume scarce human and financial resources.
In the area of building health security, Mr. Daniel noted, that a collaborative effort between states, in particular developed and developing countries, to ensure the availability of technical and other resources were a critical factors in the implementation of the WHO’s International Health Regulations. He said in so doing, it would build and strengthen public health capacity, networks and systems which strengthened international health security.
On the matter of strengthening health systems, the Health Minister said, while an efficient health system was essential to health security, emerging diseases placed great stress on any health system.
He said though the threats appeared to be minor in Nevis compared to the rest of the world, the island was a part of the global community and any threat to the rest of the world was “very much a threat to us”.
Meantime, as part of the observance of World Health Day on Nevis, the Ministry of health will host an awards dinner at the Old Manor Hotel in Gingerland later today, to honour a number of health workers on the island.