The role of the public health nurse will be highlighted from July 4 to 10, when the eight polyclinics on the island stage various events in support of this year’s Public Health Nurses Week.

According to the Health Ministry, polyclinics are strategically placed in locations to serve the population of Barbados and are staffed by a cadre of highly trained and experienced nurses who perform key roles within the community.

According to Chairman of the Public Health Nurses Week Planning Committee, Senior Health Sister, Ann Murrell: "These roles include health education, health promotion and disease prevention." ??She also contended that while many persons were familiar with the basic duties of the public health nurse, including management of antenatal, post-natal, family planning and child health clinics and community outreach, other critical ones were performed on a daily basis.

??"These include??disease surveillance at the air and sea ports; investigation of communicable diseases, assisting with policy development and compilation of national health care statistics for the Chief Medical Officer’s report," she explained.

Mrs. Murrell also acknowledged that public health nurses now had an expanded role in managing chronic non-communicable diseases that were on the increase as a result of lifestyle changes and an ageing population.?? And, she noted that asthma, diabetes, hypertension, men’s health, and heart and stroke support groups were areas which these nurses would continue to address in order to promote a healthier society, and reduce illness and premature death.

The Senior Health Sister at the Black Rock Polyclinic stressed: "Nurses, who work in polyclinics and outpatient clinics, devote themselves to the health and well-being of the communities which they serve by educating the public about beneficial health practices and disease prevention.

"They identify common health problems in the community and work with diverse members of the health care team to tailor interventions to correct or prevent the health issues they discover."

It is, therefore, against this backdrop, and in support of the week, that the Ministry of Health is urging members of the public ???to participate’ in the activities of the eight polyclinics and some outpatient clinics and learn more about the work of the public health nurses in the community.

In keeping with the year’s theme: "Public Health Nurses Working Towards Re-Shaping Communities", and in the spirit of community outreach, services which are routinely available at polyclinics will be offered, during the week, at other popular venues on the island. These include the Queen’s Park Band Stand, Emerald City Supermarket, St. Philip and Jordan’s Supermarket, Speightstown, as well as community centres at Gall Hill, Silver Hill, Pine, Eden Lodge and Grazettes.

Members of the public should check with the polyclinic nearest to them about activities during the week.


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