Senator Phipps assured citizens and residents that the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis will not expose its people to medical risks. SKNIS Photo.

Citizens and residents can rest assured that their health and well-being are of significant importance and that the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis will not expose its people to medical risks, the Honourable Senator Wendy Phipps, Minister of State with responsibility for Health said Tuesday during the Sitting of Parliament, addressing the negative publicity circulating via social media regarding the visit of the US Naval Ship Comfort to Latin American and Caribbean territories.

“I wish to assure citizens and residents that the Federal Government will never expose our people to questionable medical practices, particularly those of an invasive nature that can bring harm to our people,” said Senator Phipps. “As a result, every precaution, every applicable medical regulation and standard operating procedure has been taken by the Federal Ministry of Health and the Office of the CMO [Chief Medical Officer] in an effort to protect persons in accessing healthcare on the floating hospital.”

Senator Phipps stressed access to the services is optional.

“Moreover, we wish to remind all concerned that the decision to access healthcare onboard the ship or via its land-based screening at Antioch [Baptist Church Grounds] or in St. Pauls [Community Centre] is a matter of personal choice. Persons are free to choose whether they wish to access healthcare provided by the medical personnel who are assigned to the ship or if they wish not to access such care,” she said. “Whether we access care via a private physician, through our public health system or through goodwill medical missions such as that being provided by the US Navy Ship Comfort, is entirely up to personal choice and preference.”

Minister Phipps encouraged all to “actively police his or her health, to have regular medical checkups and to participate in regular health screenings.”

“Our nation’s formidable challenges by Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) make it all the more necessary for each and every one of us to safeguard our health. What is important is that there is no substitute for routine medical consultations in an effort to safeguard our health, improve awareness of underlying medical problems and to be able to get corrective medical interventions in order to sustain our health and improve our quality of life,” she said.

The US Naval Ship Comfort is a floating medical treatment facility/ floating hospital whose crew and medical staff will be conducting a health mission in the Federation Oct. 5-10. The USNS Comfort has been deployed by the Government of the United States of America to offer medical care to the people of the Federation and will make similar stops in ten other Latin American and Caribbean territories.