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Mayreau residents want local nurse


Residents of the Southern Grenadine island of Mayreau are up in arms with the health authorities after they learned that their resident nurse, a native of the island, is not one of the 50 retained by government.{{more}}

Nurse Zelell Grecia, a Mayreau native, has been stationed in Mayreau for the last seven months, but at the end of July her service will be terminated, and the residents told SEARCHLIGHT that they are scared that the island will once again be without a nurse.

“We hardly ever had a resident nurse, and any little thing, we have to hop a speed boat and head to Union island. It is time for that to stop,” said Annie Adams, one of the many upset residents on the island.

“We have many children with asthma on the island. We really need a nurse here, and nurse Grecia was doing such a good job,” Adams said.

“When she was training, everybody was encouraging her because we knew we had someone who was willing to stay in Mayreau,” Adams added.

Another resident, Anita Wilson, told SEARCHLIGHT that she has a sick grandmother who lives on the island, and she is very impressed with how the young nurse takes care of her.

“She is a community person. She visits my grandmother almost every day. My grandmother is crying because she heard that Grecia will no longer be working here,” Wilson said.

When SEARCHLIGHT contacted Grecia she said that she did not want to say much on the issue, but confirmed that there has been an outpouring of concern by Mayreau natives over her non-appointment.

She, however, quickly noted that when she started the nursing programme, she knew of the government’s surplus nursing training policy, and was aware that an appointment was not guaranteed.

“I knew that going in,” she said.

She told SEARCHLIGHT that she is, however, concerned about the well-being of the Mayreau natives because she knows first hand the difficulties that can arise when they have to make the trip by boat to Union Island.

Meanwhile, Director of Grenadines Affairs Edwin Snagg told SEARCHLIGHT that discussions will be held with the Ministry of Health on the matter and something will be done about the Mayreau situation.

“There must be something that can be done. Obviously, we are going forward in Mayreau and don’t want to go backward,” Snagg said.

He told SEARCHLIGHT that he could not say exactly how the matter of Mayreau’s nursing care will be resolved. However, his office will work together with the health authorities.

He explained that another nurse, originally from Mayreau, who is currently doing his midwifery training, is earmarked for the island once he is finished. He said, however, that he is willing to suggest that Grecia be kept on until that nurse is finished with his training, which should be in a year’s time.

“I know we have the policy and procedure, but we can be flexible, and I will be working on this matter with the Minister of Health,” Snagg assured the residents of Mayreau.

Last Friday, Minister of Health Dr Douglas Slater met with the more than 100 nurses who are due to be terminated at the end of July. SEARCHLIGHT understands that during the two-hour meeting, the position of the government was made clear, in that those who have not been drafted into the system will have to seek employment overseas, through the government’s “managed migration” programme.

Caribbean neighbours like Trinidad and Tobago, Nevis and Jamaica have all expressed interest in recruiting nurses out of St Vincent and the Grenadines. Twenty nurses have been recruited by Barbados, and they have expressed interest in having more nurses recruited.