(ZIZ News) — Significant strides continue to be made in local healthcare, this time with the opening of an oncology unit at the Joseph N. France general hospital.
Prime Minister Dr. Hon. Timothy Harris cut the ribbon on the newly handed over Oncology Unit on Tuesday in the presence of government officials and cancer care stakeholders.
The unit is expected to offer locals affordable specialized treatment for any type of cancer and bring relief to cancer patients who will no longer have to travel overseas for treatment.
This is according to Chief Surgeon and Medical Chief of Staff Dr. Cameron Wilkinson who said the establishment of this unit will help persons to live longer.
“Today the opening of the Oncology Center at the Joseph N. France general hospital signals the dawn of a new and brighter day for cancer care in the federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. This center will add years to the lives of people living with cancer. This center will ensure that bread winners in families not simply succumb to their disease but continue their active lives while they receive the appropriate and timely treatment. This center will ensure that no one will die because they could not afford to travel overseas for treatment,” he said.
Minister of State With Responsibility for Health Hon. Wendy Phipps said today marks a new era in the delivery of healthcare in the federation and in particular, the treatment of non- communicable diseases.
She said, “Our response here in st. Kitts and Nevis is evident; in the opening of the Oncology Center, in the increased budgetary allocations that have been given to the procurement of oncology drugs largely through the support of the OECS pool procurement on pharmaceuticals and for those drugs that will not be available there, from the PAHO Pool Procurement System that we will be accessing at the same time.”
Minister of Health Hon. Eugene Hamilton said success in cancer care does not depend on any one entity.
He recognized the doctors and nurses at the hospital as well as the cancer support groups within the federation who continue to assist cancer patients.
“Our success depends not only on competent staffing and an adequate core budget but also with partnerships with organizations whose cause it is to prevent cancer and to support affected persons. On this note I wish to recognize the efforts of all of the cancer support groups of which I am aware; the reach for recovery, essence of hope, pink lily breast cancer foundation and the most recent a time for us foundation,” the Health Minister said.
Prime Minister Dr. Hon. Timothy Harris said the opening of the Oncology Unit is another important development in healthcare in the federation.
“Today’s opening is not just good news for those who are involved in healthcare delivery. It is good news for the patients and their families. This is another important development in healthcare delivery right here in St. Kitts and Nevis. Universal healthcare becoming available to all the people of St. Kitts and Nevis and it is happening, not out there, it is happening here in the land of our birth,” he said.
The oncology unit will be fully staffed with an oncologist, specialist nurses and an oncology pharmacist. The unit will be opened daily and there will be a weekly oncology clinic at the outpatient department at JNF General Hospital.
Treatment for patients with illnesses such as breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, thyroid cancer and several leukaemias will begin as early as this week.
The opening of the Oncology Unit follows on the heels of the opening of the Mental Health Day Treatment Centre which took place on Monday.