Saint Lucia: Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs Ministry, in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), recently held an immunization workshop aimed at building the capacity of public health nursing supervisors, community nurses and other key health professionals to increase immunization coverage in Saint Lucia.
Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Jenny Daniel says continuing the immunization programme is of paramount importance to the ministry as this will ensure the resilience of the health sector.
“Today marks the commencement of this immunization hybrid workshop which aims to strengthen the capacity of our health care officers and workers to implement our immunization programs in a proactive, effective and dynamic manner. Therefore, this workshop is another significant strategy employed by the ministry to build resilience within the health sector and our population in the current environment of an upsurge in contagious diseases and epidemics worldwide.”
Chief Medical Officer Dr Sharon Belmar-George encouraged the participants to apply the knowledge gained from the workshop in providing immunization services at the various primary health care centres.
“Whatever we learn today, implementation on the ground is extremely important. So, the training might be for a few days but what is of importance is the impact. What do you do when you go back to your wellness centre, and how do you make changes to improve the overall vaccine program? We have a lot of work to do so that we can get back to our close to 100% coverage within our communities.”
Minister for Health Moses Jn Baptiste says despite the many challenges in immunization coverage, it is necessary that the nurses work hard to increase the numbers to ensure a stronger health system.
“It is very important for us to sit back and see how best we can go back to basics. We are operating in a different environment, an environment with social media presenting us with opportunities but at the same time showing numerous challenges. And we went through the problems with COVID-19, and we are still going through the hesitancy problem with vaccination and COVID-19.”
The workshop focused on areas such as vaccine safety and quality, monitoring the cold vaccine chain, the efficiency of the immunization programme and health facility planning, to name a few.