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Nurses Association focuses on improving health care on St. Maarten

TUESDAY, 07 MAY 2013

~ International Nurses Week opens ~

CAY HILL–Improving health care and closing the healthcare gap are among the things on which the St. Maarten Nurses Association will focus this year, Association President Candida McRae said at the opening of International Nurses week at St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) on Monday.

The opening ceremony featured the hoisting the St. Maarten Nurses Association Flag outside the SMMC building and the cutting of a huge celebration cake presented by SMMC management.

Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams and Health Minister Cornelius de Weever were among the dignitaries who attended the ceremony. Nurses also took part in the annual Torch Walk from Raoul Illidge Sports Complex to Taloula Mango’s on Boardwalk Boulevard (the Great Bay beach promenade) on Monday evening in celebration of the week, which runs May 6-13.

McRae said during the opening ceremony that nurses found themselves in the unique position of being able to influence the way people think, feel and act, and as a result nurses should feel encouraged to join a professional body targeted toward enhancing their profession and allowing their voices to heard as they continued to work with government and others to strengthen the health system and create the conditions necessary to maximise their contribution.

“For this nurse’s week and throughout this year we will be focused on closing the gap and improving healthcare by taking a closer look at the Millennium Development Goals and how they can help to improve health care on our little piece of the world.”

International Nurses Week is being observed under the theme: “Closing the Gap: the Millennium Development Goals: 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.” McRae said this slogan was intended to be a countdown to 2015, with an emphasis on the health-related goals.

The adoption of the Millennium Declaration by the UN General Assembly in 2000 resulted in the creation of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) framework, which has been used to galvanise development efforts, set global and national priorities, and focus attention, action and resources.

Eight MDGs with a range of targets and indicators were developed and agreed. Taken together, these provide an holistic framework for sustainable poverty reduction and development. Three goals – numbers 4, 5 and 6 – are specifically related to health and their achievement is closely linked to the other goals, including those focused on poverty, hunger, gender equality and women’s empowerment.

“When we take an in-depth look at the MDGs, we might be prone to ask ourselves what they have to do with St. Maarten. Well, though we may not face some of these problems on a large scale, we too can improve our health care as it refers to the MDGs 4, 5 and 6 and adapt the MDGs to suit our situation.

“We can improve maternal health and thus reduce child mortality and we are all aware of the fight to combat HIV/AIDS. We too here in St. Maarten have families in our community that are struggling with poverty, and to this fact we cannot turn a blind eye,” said McRae.

“The ICN is encouraging nurses to engage in advocacy and lobbying. We must be involved in the development of any programme introduced to improve health services, as it is nurses who have the practical knowledge of how health service delivery can be designed, coordinated and effectively implemented.”

She said national nurses associations (NNAs) also were being encouraged to assume an important role in informing, advising, encouraging and supporting nurses in their work. NNAs are being encouraged to continue to work with governments and others to strengthen health systems and create the conditions necessary to maximise nurses’ contributions.

“The St. Maarten Nurses Association since its inception has been working together with the government of St. Maarten to create, enhance and improve the communication channels, which will help to improve health services on our island for the good of our population,” she said, thanking all the nurses in St. Maarten for their hard work and dedication.

Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams commended nurses for being committed to their calling and for the improvement of health care.

SMMC’s new General Director Yvonne van Ameijden said she was happy to note that patient care at SMMC had been in order when she arrived, giving her time to focus on other things.

Patient Care Manager Tony Pantophlet said the fact that nurses were present must mean something for patients. He said patients might not remember their doses of medication or the injections they had been given, but they would remember the warmth, smile and nurse’s touch given.

A number of other activities are planned this week for International Nurses Week, including lectures and social functions.

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