NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (June 28, 2022) — A key official in the Nevis Island Administration’s (NIA) Ministry of Health is encouraging pregnant women to take advantage of the free antenatal services offered at the island’s six health centres.
Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams, Junior Minister of Health and Gender Affairs, made the call on June 24, 2022, at a ceremony to launch a Maternity Guide published by the Ministry of Health and Gender Affairs, through its Community Health Nursing Services and the Alexandra Hospital’s Maternity Ward.
“We know that persons have, you know, their own personal doctors who they would want to go to but we would want to encourage them in as much as they want to go to their personal doctors that they ought to go to the health centres in their communities and get that much needed personal care that is available in our health centres.
“We have done a number of things to upgrade the services that we provide in our health centres and so I want to appeal to our young pregnant mothers that the care and attention that you can get at the health centres is just as significant as what you can get from your personal doctors…Let me say it again with more gusto. I want to appeal to our young mothers to go to your health centres in your community and get all the care and attention, the hand-held attention, the hand-held care from your community nurses. Please go to your community health centres,” she urged.
The health centres are located in every health district on the island, with two in St. James’, and one each in St. Thomas’, St. Paul’s, St. John’s and Gingerland. Dr William Stones, Obstetrician-Gynaecologist (OB/GYN), attached to Public Health Department provides services in the districts. He replaces Dr Ana Maria Acuña Adán, an OBGYN, Specialist from the Cuban Brigade whose term commenced in 2016 and expired in 2021 after which she to returned to her homeland.
The range of services offered at the health centres to all antenatal clients free of cost includes pregnancy test; a copy of the new Maternity Guide; laboratory services – complete blood count (CBC), rapid plasma reagin (RPR), blood group, sickle cell test, hepatitis B, urinalysis, HIV; the newest services introduced – an ultrasound for clients who are 20 weeks pregnant, and a dental check-up.
Mrs Brandy-Williams told the Department of Information on June 28, 2022, it is the government’s responsibility to provide for its citizenry and as such the services at the clinic are for everyone, more for those who cannot afford the services of a private doctor.
According to statistics from the Health Promotion Unit in the Public Health Department, in 2020 and 2021 there were 111 and 119 live births respectively, while the crude live birth rates per 1,000 population were 8.6 per cent and 9.2 per cent respectively. There were 76 new antenatal visits in 2020 and 64 in 2021.