NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (February 16, 2017) -- The Prenatal Information System (SIP), an electronic health information system, was launched on Nevis by the Ministry of Health in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA), in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) at the Nevis Disaster Management Office conference room at Long Point on February, 14, 2017. The theme was “Bridging the Gap”.
The system which was paper-based at the time, was established over 25 years ago in the Americas by PAHO and the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a means of collecting data on pregnant women and new-borns to strengthen the quality of maternal and child health services offered in countries.
Though the programme which documents information on family history of disease, antenatal visits, breast feeding advice and information on new-born babies, has been in St. Kitts and Nevis for the past several years it had not been used consistently by all health providers.
In brief remarks, on behalf of the Minister of Health Hon. Mark Brantley, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Nicole Slack-Liburd said, with an average of just over 100 births per year in Nevis, the launch of the system’s electronic version will further strengthen data collection and monitoring of both mother and baby, translating to more positive health outcomes.
Slack-Liburd, referred to the launch as a significant day in the health sector and congratulated the health team for the success of the initiative.
“With over 34 countries in the Americas already implementing the SIP programme to date, we are proud to join with our regional and international counterparts as we celebrate this important milestone,” she said.
The Permanent Secretary stated that the NIA continues to demonstrate its commitment to the upgrade of health information systems throughout the health sector.
She pointed to the launch of the Hospital Based Information System on January 30, 2017. Under the new system, all persons accessing services at the Alexandra Hospital are required to use an electronic health card on which their health records are stored. It is provided by the hospital.
Slack-Liburd noted that the introduction of the electronic SIP programme, would be integrated into the hospital system and linked to the various health care facilities, some of which have already been provided with access with codes.
In addition to technology already in place to facilitate the system, the Permanent Secretary said the human resource requirement of nurses, doctors, midwives and support staff have been provided for the programme.
“In 2016, we commenced high risk clinics for pregnant women at the District level, where pregnant women would have conditions such as gestational diabetes can be monitored by an obstetrician/gynaecologist. In 2017, the services of this obstetrician/gynaecologist will be expanded on the district with more services available to pregnant women,” she said.
Slack-Liburd added that the Ministry of Health has made gains in the area of infant and maternal mortality due to clean water, sanitation and high immunization rates. She commended the Public Health Department for its vigilance in those areas.
The Permanent Secretary noted the introduction of the electronic system, would help the Ministry to build on the gains already made and reduce the infant and maternal mortality rate even further.
Other remarks came from Dr. Patrice Lawrence William, PAHO’s Country Programme Specialist and Dr. Judy Nisbett, Medical Officer of Health on Nevis. The ceremony was chaired by Nurse Ermine Jeffers, Coordinator Community Nursing Services in the Community Health Department.
Also present were Dr. Judy Nisbett, Medical Officer of Health, Mary Caines, Prenatal Information System Country Focal Point for St. Kitts and Nevis, staff at the Alexandra Hospital and the Ministry of Health.