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Caribbean can boast of one of world’s highest immunisation rates

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The Caribbean can boast of having one of the highest immunisation rates in the world. That’s the word from Assistant Secretary-General in charge of Human and Social Development at the CARICOM Secretariat, Dr. Douglas Slater.

He made the announcement on Tuesday morning during the opening ceremony of the Forty-Second Annual General Meeting of the Regional Nursing Body, which is being held at the CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana.

Dr. Slater said that many persons did not realise that the Region had one of the highest immunisation rates and found it unbelievable that the Region’s coverage was better than a country as developed as the United States. He attributed this accomplishment to the work of nurses in the Region and noted that they made a valuable contribution to other areas such as maternal health and child health.

The Assistant Secretary-General also said that nurses had a significant impact on issues such as communicable and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which would be addressed during the meeting. He said their involvement in enhancing healthy lifestyle promotion which included mental health was also notable and, according to him, there was a high dependence on nurses to ensure that those issues remained topical.

Minister in the Ministry of Health, Guyana Dr. Karen Cummings, also spoke at the opening ceremony. She acknowledged that much had been done but pointed out that a lot more needed to be achieved with respect to emerging trends and diseases in health, including NCDs. She said that the Ministry of Health fully appreciated the intrinsic value that nurses brought to the public health care system.

We understand the critical importance of investing in human capital necessary to enable our nurses to thrive prosperously in a dynamic health care environment.”

Other speakers at the ceremony were Programme Manager, Health Sector Development at the CARICOM Secretariat, Dr. Rudolph Cummings, Chairperson RNB, Antigua and Barbuda, Ms. Elnora Warner, and Chief Nursing Officer Guyana, Ms. Tarmattie Barker.

The four-day meeting will review the current status of preparations for the October 2015 Regional Examination for Nurse Registration (RENR) and give guidance on any outstanding issues related to the CXC-managed RENR over its first year. Participants will also approve the way forward for a new Strategic Plan for Nursing in CARICOM and will receive updates on current areas of Regional and global health policy of particular relevance to the nursing community.



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