Dominica’s Primary Health Care Services outlined

The Ministry of Health continues to promote the well-being of all citizens through the provision of preventive, curative, and rehabilitative health care services.

Through the island’s primary health care service, nursing professionals from across the country have been committed to providing quality health services to the entire population through a network of 52 health Centres and two district hospitals.

Senior Community Health Nurse attached to the primary health care department Florestine Lewis told a panel discussion organized by the Nurses Association on Monday May 14, 2012 that primary health care services in Dominica are all encompassing.

“The services that we offer range from maternal and family health where we concentrate on the woman, from the time that she has become pregnant to the time she delivers the baby. We also have a special system especially in the Roseau health district where we visit the mothers at their homes to provide nursing care to them and their newborns”.

Nurse Lewis told the panel discussion that the services offered also include general morbidity clinics.

“We do what we call general morbidity clinics where we take care of the clients with chronic non- communicable diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure. Lewis said cancer screening is also being done at the health centers”.

Health Promotion activities have been described by Lewis as a hallmark activity of primary health care services in Dominica

“The emphasis is on prevention so we do a lot of education through our health promotion activities. We also do pap smears, we screen for breast cancer and we also screen the men for prostate cancer through digital rectal examinations”.

The Senior Community health nurse disclosed further that health promotional activities at schools across the country also form part of the health services provided by the country’s primary health care system.

“There is also a service that we provide for the schools where we have the family  nurse practitioner who we call the school nurse who goes to the school and examine the children who are five years old and the school leavers to ensure that they get their vaccines.”

Each of the island’s seven health districts is equipped with a cadre of trained staff which includes a doctor, a nurse practitioner, a community health nurse, a pharmacist, an environmental health officer and a dental therapist and other ancillary workers.

“We do quite a number of activities to try to reach the clients where they are in the communities. We expect clients to take responsibility for their own health and to be involved in the health care that we provide” Lewis concluded.