CHARLESTOWN, Nevis — The Ministry of Health in the Nevis Island Administration has received a grant from the Government of Japan to acquire a PCR machine so that testing for COVID-19 and other infectious diseases can be done at the Alexandra Hospital laboratory.
During a virtual signing ceremony for the project for the improvement of medical equipment in Nevis on March 11, Premier Hon. Mark Brantley, NIA Senior Minister of Health and Minister of Foreign Affairs for St. Kitts and Nevis, thanked His Excellency Tatsuo Hirayama, Ambassador of Japan to St. Kitts and Nevis, and Japan’s Government and people of Japan for the timely grant.
“Testing as you know is part of the critical response to COVID-19 and it has proven very expensive and very time-consuming,” said Hon. Brantley. “For Nevis to continue to have send tests to St. Kitts, or sometimes farther overseas in order to get results which sometimes takes from 24 hours to a few day, there is an inherent danger of having to wait too long to be able to access testing results.
“This donation is timely, it will move us forward in a significant way on the island of Nevis,” he said. “This gives us the ability to offer rapid testing, and allow our people to know their status at a much earlier stage. Therefore it will help the health community to treat, to isolate where necessary, and to prevent the dreaded community spread.”
Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams, Junior Minister of Health in the NIA, also thanked the Japanese government for providing US $65,774 to procure a Cepheid GeneXpert machine for PCR testing to be done on Nevis.
“As we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, I must assure you that this bit of equipment will greatly improve our testing capacity here on Nevis,” said Hon Brandy-Williams. “Our monthly testing bill ranges from $17,000 to $22,000. The addition of this very timely gift will not only enhance our testing capacity, and also lessens our financial burden.
“I want to say how grateful we are as a government, how grateful we are as a people for your continued support,” she said.
Ms. Shelisa Martin Clarke, NIA Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Gender Affairs, explained that the procurement of a PCR machine translates into an increase in the services offered to the Nevisian public at the Alexandra Hospital laboratory.
“It will be a great investment for the lab staff and the people of Nevis that can be used for other tests such as HIV viral loads and Tuberculosis, both of which are sent overseas for analysis,” she said.
Also present at the ceremony held at the Alexandra Hospital were Dr. Judy Nisbett, Chief Medical Officer; Mr. Gary Pemberton, Public Health Administrator at the Alexandra Hospital and several other senior hospital employees.