Health Minister, Dr. Kenneth Darroux has said the government is treating the concerns of nurses on the island as a priority and is committed to supporting the nursing service.
Dominica is currently facing a serious shortage in the nursing service since many nurses have migrated especially after Hurricane Maria. This has sparked concerns that the shortage could have an impact on the health sector.
In an address to observe International Nurses Day, celebrated on Saturday, Darroux said nurses play a key role in health delivery.
“We as a government have recognized and listened to your concerns through the Principal Nursing Officer and have made addressing the situation a priority,” he said. “I am pleased to declare our commitment to support the nursing service.”
He said the government has taken “drastic measures” to abate the concerns of nurses.
They include an “increase by 100% allowances, pay special hurricane relief uniform allowance, increase in pay rate of nursing sessions and we have also revisited other administrative measures such as implementation measures for tenure of nurses, provision of transportation and increase pool of nurses among others.”
“In light of these, we would like to encourage you, nurses, to continue to dedicate yourself to delivering outstanding patient and client care not forgetting the importance of family and caretakers involvement,” Darroux said.
He said there is evidence that investment in nursing leads to economic development and the improvement “in conditions in which people live leads to more cohesive communities and productive economies.”
“We at the Ministry of Health and by extension the Government of Dominica have recognized these elements as significant,” he stated. “We are aware that Nurses are key players, change agents and crisis managers in the implementation of our strategies to achieve the mandate of the Ministry of Health and Social Services. Universal Health Coverage is surely a human right and that our nurses are consistently being equipped to deliver since no one is denied health care nor is it at a cost to the public at the Primary Health Care Level as well as it is accessible.”
Dr. Darroux praised nurses who remained in Dominica after Maria.
“I wish to continue to applaud our nurses for their unwavering support and provision of timely services to our people even after the passage of Hurricane Maria,” he said. “You showed your heroism, patriotism and love for people during this time and we Dominicans would not seize to thank you, especially now as the Ministry of Health is faced with the nursing attrition situation.”