Oncology Unit at JNF Hospital and Mental Health Day Treatment Centre Officially Open Next Week

Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 2, 2016 (SKNIS)—Come next week Monday and Tuesday, the Ministry of Health will open two brand new facilities that will bring much relief to persons in St. Kitts and Nevis in need of cancer care and mental health assistance.

The handing over ceremony for the newly completed Mental Health Day Treatment Centre, located at Lime Kiln Commercial Development, will take place on Monday, December 5, 2016, at 9:00 am, while the official opening of the Oncology Unit at the Joseph N. France General Hospital will take place on Tuesday, December 6, 2016, at 9:00 am. Both the Mental Health Day Treatment Centre and the Oncology Unit are the first of their kind in St. Kitts.

Construction on The Mental Health Day Treatment Centre started in February 2015 and is a joint collaboration between the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) through the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF). The project values in the area of EC$ 1.34 million with a contribution from the CDB through the BNTF of EC $136, 322.

The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis has been witnessing an increase in the number of individuals who are affected by some form of mental illness. Some of the most common causes have been attributed to drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence and child abuse and deficiency in coping with other socio-economic issues. Recognizing the importance of providing access to rehabilitative care and services, the treatment center was added to existing mental health services. The primary aim of building the mental health facility is to optimize independent living skills and provide support through the recovery process. The facility will serve as recovery phase to in-patient care, thereby providing an alternative to hospital admission for clients presenting to the Emergency Department or referred by the community. Also, the facility is expected to promote psycho-social skills improvement among persons who are mentally challenged and provide a level of stability and rehabilitation.

The Ministry of Health secured budgetary allocation for staffing and operating the Centre in 2016. The professional team at the Centre shall comprise a Mental Health Programme Coordinator, Psychiatric Staff Nurses, Psychiatric Social Worker, Counselors, Occupational Therapist and Psychiatric Aides.

At the handing over ceremony, an overview of the project shall be provided by Mr. Calvin Pemberton, consultant, and remarks will be made by Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris. Minister of Health, the Honourable Eugene Hamilton and Minister of State with Responsibility for Health, Social Services, Community Development and Gender Affairs, the Honourable Wendy C. Phipps, will also give remarks. There will be a walkthrough of the building after the ceremony.

On the other hand, the opening of the oncology unit at the JNF Hospital will bring relief to cancer patients who will no longer have to travel overseas for treatment. The establishment of this unit will offer locals affordable specialized treatment for any type of cancer. It will definitely eliminate the cost associated with overseas travel and allow the patient to be treated in an environment with strong support from loved ones.

The unit will be fully staffed with an Oncologist, Oncology Specialist Nurses and Oncology Pharmacist. The Unit will be opened daily to treat patients and there will be a weekly Oncology Clinic at the Out Patient Department at JNF General Hospital.

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