Government Awards Full Scholarships for District Nurse Midwives to Pursue Master’s Degrees Locally

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

The Government of Antigua and Barbuda announced the awarding of full scholarships for fifteen (15) District Nurse Midwives to pursue Master’s Degree in Public Health at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Five Islands campus.

This decision follows a meeting with the Minister of Health, Wellness, Social Transformation and the Environment, the honourable Sir Molwyn Joseph where the group expressed their desire to advance their education in this field.

Historically, these District Nurse Midwives would have had to travel to Jamaica to attend UWI, necessitating long periods away from their families and potentially leaving local healthcare facilities understaffed. The new arrangement allows them to study locally in Antigua and Barbuda, ensuring that they remain available to support the primary healthcare system while maintaining a presence at home with their families.

The Nurses approved by the Cabinet are: Roselia Carriere-Joseph, Cathyanne Robinson, Elaine Davis, Michelle Nathaniel-Lyons, Joyann Feidtkou, Miasha John-Carr, Nadia Josiah-Matthew, Chelle Thomas-Humphrey, Carolyn Daley, Nollareen Andrew-Richards, Alden Robins, Tanasha Roberts, Juliette Gloade, Rexcella Ramsey and April King-Francis.

The cost of the public health course, initially valued at USD$12,000, has been reduced to USD$7,500 under a discounted pricing arrangement. This course would normally cost USD$30,000 in Jamaica which is not inclusive of travel, accommodation, books and other learning material.

The Nurses have expressed their gratitude to the Health Minister, Sir Molwyn Joseph for advocating on their behalf and to the Cabinet for granting the approval. The Minister stated, “This initiative underscores our commitment to advancing healthcare in Antigua and Barbuda by investing in the education and professional growth of our nurses. By enabling them to study locally, we not only support their personal and professional development but also ensure that our healthcare system remains robust and well-staffed.”

The Minister further elaborated on the broader impact of this initiative, saying, “Our healthcare system is the backbone of our community, and the ongoing education and training of our nurses are vital to its strength and resilience. This program will help us retain our talented healthcare professionals and reduce the strain on our health services, all while providing our nurses with the opportunity to advance their careers without the inconvenience of being away from their families.”

Upon completion of their degrees, the Nurses will be qualified to be Public Health Nurses, filling the vacancy of seventeen (17) Public Health which have been vacant for a number of years. This advancement will not only enhance their skills and qualifications but also enhance the quality of public health services available to the community. The Minister emphasized, “With more Public Health Nurses in our system, we can better address the public health challenges facing our nation, from disease prevention and health promotion to emergency preparedness and response.”

Additionally, a Community Health Aide, Stacey Jeffers has been awarded a full scholarship to pursue a Nursing Degree at the University, further supporting the development of the healthcare workforce in Antigua and Barbuda. The inclusion of the Community Health Aide in this program highlights the Government’s dedication to fostering a comprehensive and inclusive approach to healthcare education and professional development.

The Government’s decision to invest in these scholarships reflects a strategic commitment to strengthening the nation’s healthcare infrastructure by ensuring that healthcare workers are well-trained, highly qualified, and able to meet the evolving needs of the community. This initiative is a significant step forward in building a resilient and responsive healthcare system for the people of Antigua and Barbuda.

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