The government of St. Kitts and Nevis is embarking on a plan to tackle Non Communicable Diseases( NCDs) through improvements in community based healthcare, highlighted by an in-service training programme.

According to Minister of Health Senator Wendy Phipps in three short years, the government has been able to make significant strides in improving the health outcomes, the provision of health related services for the benefit of the people of St. Kitts and Nevis.

She added the government is developing an in-service training programme where Pogson Hospital in Sandy Point will become the national hub for in-service training and capacity building to improve the community health nursing and medical programme in St. Kitts and Nevis.

She said, “If we are accepting the fact that we have a problem with non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, stroke, cancer and heart disease, it means we have to do more by going into the communities to find people where they are, have them check and those who cannot come to the health centres and do more home visits to reach them.”

Phipps indicated that the overall aim was to see a reduction in the cases of non-communicable diseases.

“So that at the end of the day what we will see is a reduction in the number of amputations of persons, reduce incidents of strokes and certain types of cancers and kidney disease

She said that they have partnered with the Taiwanese government to develop a chronic kidney disease programme. “It allows us to screen at the health Centre for those persons who are at high risk of kidney issues, serious life threatening issues.”

The Health Minister disclosed that there is currently a dialysis unit at JNF hospital with eight machines but noted that the cost of the treat might could be hefty. “If we are unfortunate enough to have to resort to using haemodialysis…if you have that three times a week it can cost you over $100,000. That amount of money can wipe out anybody.

“If we are going to pay attention to kidney disease we want to arrest it at the Health Centre level by having more involvement by our nurses and district medical officers so that we can do proper screening and administer treatment,” Phipps explained

She added that the hope is to help people from declining into proper kidney disease. “When that happens your only option after the dialysis is to be fortune enough to have a kidney transplant and we would not want anyone to get to that point.”