Basseterre, St. Kitts, January 26, 2017 (SKNIS): At the January 24, “Good Governance and Accountability for Prosperity” Town Hall Meeting, Minister of State with responsibility for Health, Honourable Wendy Phipps, made an appeal to citizens to collaborate with the government in terms of ensuring a healthy environment and people.
The minister of state said that there should be more partnership with citizens and the government when it comes to health care. She said the 2017 Budget has made provisions for improving the delivery of healthcare information to the people of St. Kitts and Nevis.
“In other words we have to take the fight to where you are. By that, I also mean that we have to have more efforts and more programmes directed out of the health centres in order to make sure that health education is improved whether it’s by speaking and counselling, through literature, panel discussions, video presentations, a forum such as the one we are having right now in terms of getting us to understand how important it is to live healthier lives.”
Minister Phipps made mention of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), which is prevalent throughout the nation. She said that NCDs is not restricted to older persons. She said that within the past weeks there have been several deaths in the federation of fairly young persons. Some of them lost their lives due to strokes or heart attacks.
“Of course, whenever it happens it’s unfortunate and it shocks us but it should shock us enough in terms of making the right decisions to do behaviour changes that benefit us so that we can continue on the trend of longevity that we have set path on because by virtue of our people living longer, it is telling you that we have advanced to the point where we have become a best practice in the region in spite of our smallness.”
Minister Phipps said that there should also be more community involvement in terms of environmental health.
“We have had episodes in the past in recent years from issues such as Chikungunya, Zika etcetera,” she said. “A lot of these are diseases borne by mosquitoes or what is called vector borne diseases and we have to make more of an effort to control the spread of mosquitoes which is the crux of the problem.”
The minister made an appeal for persons to look around their homes and offices to clean up where there might be stagnant water.
“If it’s an issue of drains outside your homes that may be clogged, let us know at the environmental department so that we can address that because we do have staff who are paid tax payers dollars out of your money to clean these areas and we need to make sure that we do a better job of that,” she added.
Minister Phipps said items such as old cans, tires and flower pots that hold water where mosquito lava can thrive, must be drained.
“Whatever you can do to join us in the fight against vector borne diseases and illnesses we would appreciate it,” said the minister. “Especially since we are now seeing evidence in the region that some of the older type diseases that were carried by mosquitoes seem to be making a return.”