The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis is spending money on cutting-edge lifesaving technology in an effort to improve healthcare services, and establish Basseterre as the first “4-minute city” in the region. This ground-breaking initiative was unveiled by Prime Minister and Health Minister, Dr. Terrance Drew, on Monday, October 30, during the National Assembly session.
A ‘4-minute city’ programme aims to empower ordinary citizens to provide lifesaving assistance to cardiac arrest victims using automated external defibrillators (AEDs) within four minutes of collapse, significantly increasing survival rates.
Dr. Drew emphasized the importance of this project and its starting point – the procurement of a cutting-edge CT scan machine.
“The Government has bought a brand-new CT scan machine, a 128-slice. I know that Nevis already has a 128-slice CT scan, so in the space of St. Kitts and Nevis, we would have two very modern CT scan machines,” Prime Minister Dr. Drew stated.
Elaborating on the significance of the CT scan machine, Dr. Drew highlighted, “We know that heart disease is one of the leading causes of death here in St. Kitts and Nevis, and this machine would help us to detect critical cases and be able to intervene with the necessary treatment.”
He further revealed that this investment is part of the process to establish a catheterization laboratory (cath lab), with collaboration from various countries and developers.
Dr. Drew expressed gratitude to Dr. Laws, a cardiologist, for his support in building the cath lab. He stated, “We are hoping to have that cath lab built and sent to St. Kitts and Nevis, so that we can create what you call a 4-minute city. What we mean by a 4-minute city is that if you have chest pain anywhere in Basseterre, we should be able to get you care within four minutes.”
Catheterization labs are examination rooms used in medical facilities to perform various tests and procedures related to heart health.
The government has more in mind than just gear. The plan consists of a broad education campaign directed at the public and businesses. Dr. Drew stressed that people with cardiac problems would be able to receive AED resuscitation.
“We are also going to have AEDs [automated external defibrillators] to resuscitate the heart. So, if someone were to collapse in [the National Assembly], those who work here should know how to work that machine. It is only about an hour of training it takes for us to do that. We want to be the first 4-minute city in the Caribbean, and so we are building towards that.”
Prime Minister Drew also highlighted the positive impact on tourism, stating, “This would say to our tourists who come here that if anything were to happen to you, within four minutes you have the best chance of survival.”