NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (December 05, 2013) – American-based Eye Specialist Dr. Raymond Hubbe and his colleagues were heaped with praise by Deputy Premier of Nevis and Minister of Health Hon. Mark Brantley for what he said was their continued assistance to the people of Nevis.
The Minister registered his gratefulness on behalf of the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) and the people of Nevis at a handing over ceremony of specialised equipment at the Alexandra Hospital on December 03, 2013, which cost over $100,000, for use at the Hospital’s Eye Care programme. The team of professional ophthalmologists headed by Dr. Hubbe comes to Nevis every April and November.
“I want to thank you and I want to publicly record my gratitude to you and your colleagues for your continued assistance to the people of Nevis through your provision of services, the eye care programme that we have here. It really has become the envy of some of the neighbouring islands because we really are doing all of the major things,” he said, as he urged members of the public to utilise the services offered through the programme
“I want to encourage our people to use this service that is available. The investment has been made. The donations have been made. The equipment is here and we are very proud to say that at our own little local hospital, we have state-of-the-art eye care services available. So thank you very much Dr. Hubbe on behalf of all of us here, the government and people on the island of Nevis,” he said.
Mr. Brantley told Dr. Hubbe that he was grateful for the level of service he offered Nevisians and that his work impacted the community in a positive way.
“I am very grateful that we are at a point where we can offer the very best in eye care on the island of Nevis, for the people of Nevis. We could not do that were it not for your assistance, so I want to join my colleagues and the technocrats in the Ministry of Health and the Health Care System here in saying to you, how absolutely grateful we are and that we hope that we can continue this partnership for a very long time.
“I think a lot of people here are benefiting. Families are benefiting and the island is benefiting and all of that comes…out of your willingness to assist us. I think that is important because you didn’t need to. I’m sure you have a lot of other things, that I am sure, you could spend your time doing and the fact that you have chosen to be here with us and to be committed to this cause, is a matter I think for great celebration on our part,” the Health Minister stated.
In response, Dr. Hubbe explained that the equipment was made possible to Nevis through a joint effort with donors both on and outside Nevis.
“You are all very welcome and I want to say that Nevis has always been very welcoming to us and we very much enjoy being here. I also want to give credit to everybody that made this possible. It’s not just me. There have been a lot of donors who’ve made this equipment possible, both on and off island donors, so the credit goes to many people,” he said.
The Eye Specialist also spoke to the type of equipment and their capabilities.
“The big one is a surgical microscope and having a very good microscope helps the surgeon see the eye very clearly in order to safely do the cataract surgery. We’ve had microscopes before but this particular microscope is really state-of-the-art. It’s very similar to what I use at home and that definitely makes the surgeon’s job easier and safer.
“This other machine is a Phacoemulsification machine. Basically what it does is it’s an ultrasound machine to reduce cataracts and using an ultrasonic probe, it breaks the cataract to pieces and removes it from the eye. The third piece of equipment that came was the YAG Laser, the YAG laser is used when people have secondary cataracts or what we call capsular opacity, the cloudiness that happens after you’ve already had cataract surgery,” he said.
According to Dr. Hubbe, the YAG Laser was a simple procedure which required a very sophisticated machine and he had been able to do 26 procedures with that piece of equipment since its arrival on Nevis.
“We also use it to treat a kind of glaucoma we call narrow angle glaucoma and four of those 26 procedures was for that diagnosis also. The microscope here has already been used for 50 cases. So we’ve put those instruments right to use…
“Having an up-to-date machine once again makes the surgery both safer and more accurate and easier for the surgeon, so that’s a really nice thing to have,” he said.
Medical Officer of Health in the NIA Dr. Judy Nisbett gave a brief history of the Eye Care Programme and thanked Dr. Hubbe and his team for the volume of work they continued to do on Nevis.
“This programme started back many years ago with Dr. Bresnick and when Dr. Bresnick came on island he noted that he would visit certain places such as the market and would miss some of the persons that he was accustomed of seeing and when he asked he was told that they are now blind and they can no longer come to the market and he decided as an ophthalmologist to start this programme.
“When he was ready to retire, he passed the baton to Dr. Hubbe. He looked for someone who was just as passionate as he was about the programme and that baton is being carried on quite well by Dr. Hubbe and his team,” she said.
Dr. Nisbett noted that because of the programme many persons on Nevis had maintained their vision and she spoke to the importance of the new equipment.
“These machines are very important to us in Public Health. The number of persons who have benefited from cataract surgery, glaucoma care and treatment, retinal care due to diabetes and hypertension, it’s a tremendous number of persons whose sight has been saved over the years and these machines would continue to help us to continue in that good work,” she said.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Mrs. Nicole Slack-Liburd also delivered brief remarks. Also present were Hospital Administrator Mr. Gary Liburd, Health Services Administrator Mrs. Shelisa Martin-Clark and Administrative Officer Mr. Johnson Morton.