Today 14th November 2020, Dominica joins the rest of the world in the observance of World Diabetes Day; a day that the entire world collectively recognizes the increasing threat that Diabetes is creating.
This year World Diabetes Day 2020 is observed under the theme: “The Nurse and Diabetes”, a theme which is aimed at raising awareness around the critical role that nurse’s play in supporting people living with diabetes.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) nurses accounts for 59% of health professionals. The global nursing workforce is 27.9 million, of which 19.3 million are professional nurses.
Nurses are often the first line of contact within the healthcare service and therefore the quality of that initial assessment, care and treatment of people diagnosed with Diabetes is of great significance.
Studies have also shown that, 1 in every 2 people currently living with type 2 diabetes is undiagnosed. The ever increasing number of people living with diabetes throughout the world, places a significant value on the role of nurses in preventing and controlling the impact of Diabetes on the healthcare system and economy.
Over the past decade, diabetes prevalence has risen faster in low and middle-income countries as opposed to in high-income countries. A change in life style habits is evident for this rapid increase resulting from associated risk factors such as overweight or obese.
With this understanding of the impact of Diabetes on the population and need to improve the Health and Wellness of its citizens, the Government of Dominica through the Ministry of Health, Wellness and New Health Investment have developed and implemented Public Health Policies and Strategies to include but not limited to, retraining of Health Care workers both in the Public and Private Sector, training of Nurses and other Health Care workers and NGOs in Chronic Disease Self –Management Program, a programme aimed at empowering communities to achieve Self-Efficacy
The Ministry has also implemented strategies aimed at strengthening its partnership with several non-governmental
agencies such as the Dominica Diabetic Association (DOMDA), all in an effort in moving forward the agenda of diabetes prevention and control.
The Ministry of Health, Wellness and New Health Investment recognizes the important role that nurses play and through the Government s initiatives to improve the working condition for staff as well as providing access to health care for the general population, continued enhancement is seen in our health care system. This is visible in the new health infrastructures and improved human resource for primary and secondary health care.
The Ministry has placed emphasis on the recruitment and training on all categories of staff to include nurses. We are
aware of the shortage of nurses not only in Dominica but globally as well and hence all effort continues in trying to fill the gap that exists in the nursing workforce.
This has not been an easy task since nurses are a scarce but essential human resource all over the world, and herefore makes recruitment and retention quite difficult. At present there are approximately 328 nurses within the healthcare system, both public and private.
The Government of Dominica through the Ministry of Health, Wellness and New Health Investment and in collaboration with the Establishment, Personnel and Training Department is currently in the process of restructuring the Nursing service that will include renaming of, as well as the creation of nursing positions to allow for upward mobility for our nurses.
The Ministry will continue to provide training opportunities for nurses at all level, not only to assist them in developing professionally but to also empower them to be able to effectively manage disease conditions such as Diabetes. Training will also continue for other nursing staff such as Community Health Aides who assist in the monitoring and provision of basic nursing care to our people.
You must have heard of the previous and current training of Community Health Aides during last year and this year. In addition twenty-two (22) Nursing Assistants who recently completed their General Nursing Council Enrolment, and have applied for employment within the Ministry of Health have received gainful employment within the Public Service.
This again is evidence that the Ministry of health, Wellness and New Health Investment and by extension the Government of Dominica, inspite of all its challenges, remains committed to our nurses and to the improvement of our health care system, in the fight against Diabetes and other non-communicable as well as
Earlier this year you would have been made aware that the World Health Organization dubbed this year as, Year of the Nurse and Midwife 2020.
I encourage all Dominicans to continue to embrace, show gratitude, and acknowledge the outstanding work Nurses have been doing for centuries and at present, in healthcare delivery and in improving the quality of life in the general population, whether it is in the frontline against Communicable Diseases like COVID-19 or Non- Communicable Diseases like Diabetes.
I also encourage all those who have been affected by Diabetes to listen to your healthcare provider and follow the instructions that you are given to help manage your condition effectively. As have been echoed in the past, your health is your responsibility.
Our nurses are giving you the support; show your appreciation by adhering to the instructions given. Finally, I take this opportunity to extend deepest appreciation and to say special thank you to all our nurses and support
nursing staff, who are in service or have retired, for your excellent work and continued dedication to service and country, as we champion the fight against Diabetes, its complications and other disease conditions.
God bless you. God Bless Dominica.