NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (JULY 3, 2013) — Diabetic and hypertensive patients will be pleased to learn that they can now access pharmaceutical services at the Brown Hill Health Centre, Permanent Secretary in the Nevis Island Administration’s (NIA) Ministry of Health Nicole Slack-Liburd has said.
Speaking at a brief, but symbolic ceremony to officially open the pharmacy at the Brown Hill Health Centre on July 2, 2013, Liburd noted that non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and hypertension form the major burden of disease here on Nevis, with more than 500 persons on each of these registers.
“We welcome all persons accessing services at this facility to come in and see what we have to offer with regards to pharmaceutical services,” the Health Secretary said.
The pharmacy, which was declared officially open for business by the NIA’s Minister of Health Hon. Mark Brantley, is the first such facility to be attached to one of the island’s health centres. Senior Pharmacist at the Alexandra Hospital Margaret Wells described the establishment of the pharmacy as a significant development for the island.
“It eases the pressure on the Alexandra Hospital with the acquisition of pharmaceuticals and it makes the patient feel more comfortable. This is an important start. It’s really nice when a doctor attends to you, as a patient, and you can just make a few steps next door to the doctor’s office and have your prescription filled.
“We have antibiotics. We have anti-hypertensives. We have analgesics. We have paediatric preparations, topical preparations etc. So we are making an effort to accommodate the patients who see the doctor at the Brown Hill Health Centre,” Wells said.
District Medical Officer Dr. Chandy Jacobs who is assigned to the Brown Hill Health Centre, said he, too, was pleased to be a part of the historic event.
“Most of the time, the challenge for doctors is, you write a prescription, (the patients) walk around with that. First they go to the hospital, they may not get everything, go to the pharmacy. We as physicians who write prescriptions don’t know whether the patient gets everything. They may come back after a few weeks or maybe a month saying ‘Oh Doctor, I didn’t get the first one, the second one.’ So we are not actually doing the full justice.
“They may not be aware that they can either contact the doctor or try to get it from somewhere but this arrangement is so good that when you write a prescription, they are right there getting it. If they didn’t get it, I can always change the prescription to something which is available or guide them to get it wherever it is available rather than wait for two, three weeks,” Dr. Jacobs said.
The District Medical Officer who commended the Minister of Health and the Permanent Secretary for the innovative idea registered hope that the service would soon be extended to other districts.
“My only complaint is that unfortunately we have bigger clinics where [the service] is needed much more urgently but the problem is the space and security for keeping the medications and logistical problems. Once it is solved, I am sure that people in Gingerland and other places, Butlers, far off places, won’t have to come to town. These medications will be available in their own places when the doctor visits them. So it is going to be a great blessing to all those people, the elderly especially,” Dr. Jacobs said.
According to the Minister of Health, initially, pharmaceutical services will be available on Tuesday afternoons at the Brown Hill Health Centre Pharmacy. Over time consideration will be made for the extension of these services to other clinics.