BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, June 6, 2023 (SKNIS) – The Ministry of Health has initiated training for its nurses and other staff in neonatal care, as part of its mandate to further strengthen the various healthcare services administered at the Joseph N. France General Hospital.
Neonatal care refers to the type of treatment given to babies that were born prematurely or with an illness.
The training workshop is being facilitated by Neonatology Physician, Dr. Komalpreet Brar, who works with the World Pediatric Project (WPP). The World Pediatric Project provides direct advanced care to thousands of children each year and assists countries globally by developing in-country healthcare resources through training and capacity building.
Dr. Brar stated, “We’ve come down to St. Kitts to help the Neonatology Unit and the nurses be better prepared for doing neonatal resuscitations down here and being able to manage infants during their course throughout the NICU [neonatal intensive care unit] as they deliver early or if they need any type of support because they are ill.”
Assistant Nurse Manager of the Neonatal Unit at the JNF General Hospital, Naomi Brownbill described this week’s training in neonatal care as extremely important and timely.
She said, “Throughout my years here at the hospital, we have seen many babies needing assistance. We have been assisting but this [training workshop] will help to sharpen our skills. We’re getting some training on how to care for our newborns, including neonatal resuscitation which is very important because sometimes babies are born and need help to breathe, so in this workshop, we are being taught exactly what to do to help our babies breathe properly.”
Mary Fairchild is a Respiratory Therapist who is working alongside Dr. Brar during the workshop. She explained how respiratory therapy fits into the scope of providing comprehensive neonatal care for newborn babies.
“Premature babies have a lot of breathing issues. The lung is one of the last organs to develop in the body, so when they are born prematurely, they need a lot of respiratory support. So, I’m here to support [Dr. Brar] and to help teach how to resuscitate the babies, how to keep them breathing and healthy while they grow,” Ms. Fairchild said.
She added, “For the individual nurses, they will learn more about something we call ‘bubble CPAP’ which helps to keep the lung open. They will learn how to run ventilators and understand what the ventilators are doing for the babies in their care. We will also be talking about oxygen saturation and how much oxygen to give newborn babies.”
Prime Minister and Minister of Health, the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew made a brief stop by the training workshop on Monday, June 05, where he offered words of encouragement to the participants and expressed his appreciation to the World Pediatric Project.
“I had the opportunity along with the leadership of the ministry and staff here to welcome the World Pediatric Project for the first time to St. Kitts and Nevis where they would be concentrating on training for neonatology. Neonatology is really taking care of newborns. This would help of course to make sure that our little ones are well taken care of and given the best chance of surviving, especially if they were born with some sort of illness. And so I want to thank them for coming to St. Kitts and Nevis and we look forward to having them here more so that our people can receive that advanced type of training,” Dr. Drew said, noting that, “This is all part of our thrust to make healthcare better here in St. Kitts and Nevis for all of our people.”
The neonatal care training for nurses is the latest in a series of training programmes being rolled out for medical personnel in St. Kitts and Nevis under the Dr. Terrance Drew-led administration.
It follows the Pre-Hospital Emergency Care training course for staff of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department at JNF General Hospital and the comprehensive customer service training programme for hospital staff.