Hello from St. Kitts & Nevis!

We are 5th year Masters of Public Health students and our project is determining the prevalence and distribution of childhood asthma in Nevis. St. Kitts & Nevis is beautiful two-island Federation in the Caribbean. St. Kitts (more formally known as Saint Christopher) was the first island Christopher Columbus sighted on his journey to the New World in 1493. Today, the population of the country is only a little bigger than the population of Charlottesville!
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We are conducting our research on Nevis, the smaller of the two islands which has a population of 12,000. (It is also home to Nevis Peak, a dormant volcano which we chose to hike!)
-1We are living in a rural area of the island, with the Caribbean sea only steps away from our front door. Ethan Jones, a 2015 CGH Scholar, conducted a research project on the over utilization of hospital emergency rooms for childhood asthma. Our project is a continuation of his study as we are completing chart reviews at all of the six public clinics on Nevis to gain statistical data that is beneficial to the Ministry of Health in determining and making changes to how the community health clinics are utilized among pediatric patients. 

 

Before starting our research, we spent the first few days exploring the country. Taking a tour of St. Kitts, we visited Basseterre, the capital of the Federation. We also visited Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, designed by the British but built by African slaves that gives us a beautiful scenic view of St.Kitts and Nevis as well as other surrounding islands.

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We also took a tour of Nevis, which began with a grand parade marking the end of child month. Children are highly cherished and the Federation believes strongly in investing in their children which is showcased in this annual event. We also took a dip in the hot springs, walked through the botanical garden, and visited the former Montpelier and Nisbet plantations.

We have been in St. Kitts & Nevis for a month, and have gotten the hang of things on the island. We get our fruits and vegetables from the local market in downtown Charlestown, going on Tuesday mornings to get the best pick of the weekly shipments. After a few mishaps and embarrassing incidents, we are now masters of the bus system. We didn’t learn all of this on our own – locals have been very inviting and generous, offering help as well as smiles.

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We look forward to finishing our research and experiencing what else St. Kitts and Nevis has to offer!
 
– Maha Hassan and Deega Omar
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