Asthma in children under scrutiny by Nevis Health officials; University of Virginia School of Medicine
NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (May 30, 2013) — Clinicians and parents of children with Asthma have been given an opportunity by the Ministry of Health on Nevis to assist with the identification of Asthma triggers. The process is being facilitated through the implementation of a Childhood Asthma Survey which began on May 28, 2013 and concludes on May 31.
At a press briefing on May 28, 2013, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Mrs. Nicole Slack-Liburd spoke to the importance of the survey in partnership with the University Of Virginia School Of Medicine, particularly as asthma affected children and adults on the island. The survey is being conducted by Associate Professor and Assistant Director of Community Health Programmes and Research Dr. Jeanita Richardson and PhD student Ms. Seleena Moore.
“We at the Ministry of Health believe that data drives decision making, as such we place tremendous effort in the area of research which informs our programme planning… Over the next few days the team … will investigate what are the asthma triggers, we know one of these to be second hand smoke and with World No Tobacco Day fast approaching here on May 31, that’s an area of concern for us here in Nevis.
“With regard to the number of patients…it’s over 350 visits to our Out Patient Department in 2013 and that’s a quite a large number and so if we can engage in research such as this to identify triggers and reduce the amount of persons who actually come into the Out Patient Department, that is something that we welcome. If persons have information and can identify triggers the likelihood of them visiting the Out Patient Department will be reduced so hence the importance of a survey such as this one,” she said.
According to Mrs. Slack-Liburd, in addition to the 350 visits to the Alexandra Hospital attributed to Asthma, in 2013 up to April the records indicated over 100 asthma-related visits there so the matter of asthma was a very real issue for the Ministry of Health.
She stated that the continued research with partners such as the University of Virginia aided the Health Authorities on Nevis to better manage its programmes.
Meantime, the Health Permanent Secretary reiterated that chronic diseases and their management remained an area of priority for the Ministry of Health and illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and hypertension were other critical areas of concern.
Mrs. Nicole Slack-Liburd said the Ministry was proud of the partnership with the University over the years which had conducted a number of surveys in other important areas of Health.
“Last year this prestigious institution conducted a Maternal and Child Health Survey as well as a Health Utilisation Survey the results of which will be provided shortly. The team was supervised by Dr. Marcus Martin and has visited the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis for the past five years, every January, in which they do disaster-related work and also receive instruction in Disaster Management and Health Disaster Management,” she said.
Also present at the press briefing at the Nevis Island Administration’s conference room in Charlestown were members of the Management team at the Ministry of Health were Medical Officer of Health Dr. Judy Nisbett, Matron Aldris Pemberton-Dias and Supervisor of Community Health Nursing Jenevie Daniel.