“We’re practically on our own, since that one nurse left”
Front Page
May 10, 2013

“We’re practically on our own, since that one nurse left”

Residents of Mayreau are protesting having been without a resident nurse and doctor for the past four months.{{more}}

According to residents of the 1.5 square mile Grenadine island, the situation developed on January 19, when the only nurse, who is also a resident of the island, migrated to further her studies.

Since then, a nurse from the Union Island clinic visits Mayreau once per week and a doctor once a month.

In the case of a medical emergency, the residents explained that they have to travel by speedboat to Union Island.

Mayreau has a population of approximately 250 people.

Lennox Forde, a resident of the Village on Mayreau, told SEARCHLIGHT on Monday that travelling by speedboat to Union Island with someone who has a severe injury or is pregnant is risky.

“We’re practically on our own, since that one nurse left”.

SEARCHLIGHT also spoke with several other residents who expressed their displeasure with the situation.

“I had a stroke and I have my pressure and all and is like I pray to stay alive until the nurse visits or the doctor who comes only once a month,” Raphael Lewis stated.

One woman said there have been situations where pregnant women went into labour and, in some cases, if the only midwife was not on island, that woman would have to journey to Union Island, even in the middle of the night.

“Can you imagine coming over Union on a speedboat late night and a pregnant woman at that? Sometimes, if the boat has no light, then is our cell phones we use for light.

“It is not a comfortable ride on a speedboat for anyone, much less to a pregnant woman,” the woman explained as she sat next to this SEARCHLIGHT reporter on a speedboat, travelling on the choppy waters towards Union Island.

Weighing in on the situation, parliamentary representative for the Southern Grenadines Terrance Ollivierre explained that it has been an ongoing problem to find nurses for the island.

“This is not the first time this is happening. It seems everytime a nurse leaves for studies or migrates, the replacement takes forever.”

Ollivierre said in February, a young man who suffered from a strangulated hernia died on his way to Union Island.

“According to the medical experts who I spoke with, … if there was a nurse or trained medical person on island at the time, the end result may have been different.

“…He had to travel via speedboat the following morning, after taking ill the night before and before they reach Union Island, he died,” Ollivierre said.

The parliamentary representative also said the clinic on the island is in dire need of repairs.

“The building has a clinic section and a nurse’s living quarters and if you visit there now, you will see the condition it is in.

The people are in need of basic health care and that’s all they are asking for. They don’t need anything extravagant. We’ve been talking about this for so long…” he added.

Monroe Forde, another resident, explained that the residents of Mayreau had heard on the news that the government had allocated funds to do repairs.

“That was about two months ago and is on news we heard. No one visited Mayreau to speak with us or visit the site where the clinic is located,” the young man said.

On Monday, SEARCHLIGHT visited the site of the clinic. The yard was overgrown with grass, there were locked doors and windows, sections of the roof were falling in, and there was a boarded up back door and rotten side doors.

On Thursday, May 2, a petition, with over 150 signatures, calling for a resident nurse and doctor for Mayreau, was delivered to the office of the Minister of Health.

A senior official in the Ministry of Health confirmed with SEARCHLIGHT that the petition had been received. He, however, declined to comment further, except to say that meetings are being held to rectify the situation.(AA)