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Nurse Migration Tops Health Minister’s Agenda

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Tuesday, April 26, 2005 - Minister for Health, Human Services, Gender Relations and Family Affairs Honourable Damian Greaves says nurse migration has become one of the urgent areas impeding quality health delivery. This he announced will be seriously addressed this year. Minster Greaves says a number of studies have been undertaken to pinpoint the shortfalls in the system and what can be done to address them.

This approach he says signifies that problems are not being swept under the carpet, but are being tackled head on. Speaking in the House last week (Friday, 22nd April) Minister Greaves says the Health Sector Reform process will continue to unfold in meaningful and sustained ways.

“Therefore Mr. Speaker, a committee on nurse migration was established. This committee developed a position paper on nurse migration in St. Lucia which outlined the key problems experienced by nurses in the health sector and made recommendations to respond to the situation of nurse migration. These recommendations will be implemented this year Mr. Speaker.”

Having highlighted the problems inherent to the departure of nurses, Minister Greaves went on to give fresh reminders of the Government’s broader concerns within the health sector. Among these the Minister noted infant mortality which is primarily avoided through maternal and child health intervention programmes, and immunization coverage instituted in Communities Island wide. Minister Greaves however noted dissatisfaction with the high rate of neo-natal deaths.

“Neo-natal deaths represented approximately 75% of infant deaths from 1998 to 2003. What is the explanation of this situation? The explanation of this situation may lie in the fact that many pregnant women have risk factors such as poor nutrition, maternal drug and alcohol use, emotional and physical abuse, sexually transmitted infections, smoking and teen Pregnancies.”

The Minister further restated priority areas presently being addressed such as communicable diseases including dengue fever, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. The Minister said to date there have been 452 reported cases of HIV/AIDS in St. Lucia. Of this number 217 persons have died.

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