Federal Ministry of Health Statement on the Occasion of World Health Day 2020

Support Nurses and Midwives” is the official tagline for World Health Day 2020, which is being celebrated internationally on Tuesday, April 7, 2020. St. Kitts and Nevis joins the rest of the World to salute, to celebrate and to honour the vocation, dedication, professionalism and service of the global nursing fraternity. Now, more than ever before, nurses and midwives are indispensably working on the frontlines of public healthcare and have, since December 2019, been increasingly preoccupied with rendering nonstop care and saving lives that are threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared 2020 the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife. The WHO did not make this declaration by accident. It was a careful and deliberate decision to showcase the state of nursing; to make plans for strengthening the fraternity; to grow the workforce in order to overcome global shortages; and to cement the key roles to be played by nurses and midwives in the advancement of key public health programmes such as maternal and child health, non-communicable diseases (NCDs), infection control and prevention, universal health coverage, and the delivery of a people-centric approach towards nursing care.

World Health Day 2020 is an ideal opportunity to shine the spotlight on all members of the nursing fraternity in St. Kitts and Nevis. We applaud the efforts of our nurses and midwives in our four hospitals; 17 health centres; those in private practice; and those who care for senior citizens and persons with disabilities in public and private sector long-term care facilities.”

 Such were the sentiments expressed by the Hon Wendy Phipps, Minister of State with Responsibility for Health, in recognition of World Health Day 2020. As she had done on the occasion of World Health Day 2019, Minister Phipps reminded the public that the annual observance on April 7th is meant to coincide with the official anniversary of the WHO, whose Constitution came into force on April 7, 1948.

As a United Nations (UN) agency dedicated to the pursuit and promotion of global health, the WHO has been at the forefront of global health issues, including but not limited to, the establishment of international health policy; coordination of response to localised and trans-national epidemics and disease outbreaks; leadership in health research; and also the provision of technical support to UN Member States, such as St. Kitts and Nevis. Given the brutish force with which the COVID-19 pandemic has been impacting so many of the World’s nations, the WHO has to be front and centre in assisting to co-ordinate the global response. Never before in the Organisation’s 72-year history has the WHO been called upon to play such a pivotal and colossal role in addressing – head-on – an existential crisis of such magnitude,” Minister Phipps noted.

Minister Phipps noted that the WHO’s selection of the 2020 tagline Support Nurses and Midwives”, is a major endorsement of the critical role of these caregivers who are the bone structure of the global public health response required to confront COVID-19 which has already caused some 1.4 million infections and over 81,000 deaths worldwide. The Minister also took time to remember those healthcare workers and medical specialists who have paid the ultimate price in losing their lives in the fight against of COVID-19. She called on all global citizens to pray for the repose of the souls of these healthcare heroes even as we, separately and in unison, lift up to the Almighty their loved ones who are now left to mourn their loss.

As World Health Day 2020 is observed under the tagline “Support Nurses and Midwives” the Federal Ministry of Health wishes to remind the people of St. Kitts and

Nevis that health is precious, that every one of us has an individual responsibility to help our nurses and midwives to help us in the war against COVID-19. Let us do our part by following the advice of our health care providers, medical officials in the Federal Ministry of Health, and law enforcement agencies who are charged with carrying out their mandate given them by the Emergency Powers (COVID-19) Regulations. In this way, more of us will remain healthy and safe. When more of us are healthy and safe we will greatly ease the burden of our nurses and midwives – and all other healthcare workers for that matter – who must render long, stressful hours of dedicated service in helping us to regain our health after we fall ill.

The Federal Government congratulates and salutes all nurses and midwives on the occasion of World Health Day 2020.