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Saint Kitts and Nevis flagSaint Kitts and Nevis

Location: Caribbean
Population: 53,192


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Saint Kitts and Nevis is composed of two islands in the Eastern Caribbean Sea. Christopher Columbus visited Saint Kitts on his second voyage in 1493. He named it Saint Christopher, Saint Kitts for short. Divided during the 17th century between warring French and English colonists, Saint Kitts was given to Britain by the Treaty of Utrecht of April 1713. The islands of Saint Kitts, Nevis, and Anguilla were united by federal act in 1882 and became an independent state in association with the United Kingdom on February 27, 1967. A constitutional conference was held in London in 1982, and, despite disagreement over special provisions for Nevis, Saint Kitts and Nevis became independent on September 19, 1983.

There are separate ministries of health for the two islands, with parallel organizational structures. The Ministry of Health on St. Kitts is responsible for public health surveillance and disease prevention and control programs with a single Chief Medical Officer. The government of St. Kitts and Nevis does not require residents to obtain health insurance. There is no national health insurance scheme within the country, although citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis who fulfill certain requirements are eligible to receive an exemption from all healthcare costs for treatment received in the country. St. Kitts and Nevis, being a smaller country, lacks some medical necessities. Individuals suffering from severe illnesses and injuries may be required to travel overseas to receive comprehensive medical care. Patients from St. Kitts who travel overseas for medical treatment will usually go to the USA.

For the entire country, there are enough medical doctors although they may not be equally distributed across the islands. However, there are vacancies for nursing positions and there is a widely recognized lack of certain specialists, including mental health professionals, nursing specialists, radiologists, community health nurses, internists, and health promotion specialists. Almost all private health personnel are concentrated in the two capital cities, Basseterre, and Charlestown. According to the MOH Statistical Report (2009), there are 47 physicians, 241 nurses, 20 pharmacists, and 14 dentists.

The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis has been aware of the threat posed by HIV since the first case was identified in 1984. A total of 358 HIV cases have been reported to date, though population prevalence estimates range from 0.5% to 1.1% of the adult population. Stigma and discrimination faced by persons living with HIV have constrained uptake of voluntary counseling and testing and made it extremely difficult to obtain precise prevalence estimates. It is likely that many infected individuals are unaware of their status.

St. Kitts and Nevis’s national HIV and AIDS response was initiated in 2000 when the first National Strategic Plan was drafted and adopted. The country has benefited from external financial and technical support for its HIV programming. This support has been essential to its ability to control the epidemic given the country’s human resource constraints and vulnerability to economic downturns and weather events. In 2009, St. Kitts and Nevis developed a revised HIV strategic plan for the 2010-2014 period. This plan focused on reducing the spread of HIV infection and the impact of HIV and AIDS on individuals, family, and the community.

COVID-19 infections are decreasing in Saint Kitts and Nevis, with 9 new infections reported on average each day. According to their Prime Minister Timothy Harris, the nation has spent 6.7 million dollars to combat COVID-19. There have been 2,637 infections and 21 coronavirus-related deaths reported in the country since the pandemic began. Saint Kitts and Nevis has administered at least 49,817 doses of vaccines so far. Assuming every person needs 2 doses, about 47.2% of the country’s population has been vaccinated.

In 2019, the HCV prevalence rate was 1.93%. There were 1,148 people living with HCV in Saint Kitts and Nevis in 2019. 3 HCV related deaths were reported in 2019.

Learn More About the HIV/AIDS and COVID-19 Situation in Saint Kitts and Nevis

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