The Women’s Health Centre is a part of the Health Services Authority that has flourished since it was opened about 10 years ago. Located at the Cayman Islands Hospital in George Town in its own wing, it has expanded its schedule to include a wide range of treatments, classes and resources. It is presently the only centre of its kind in the Caribbean that offers this many women’s services under one roof.
Carmin Fennell, previously a midwife and now manager of specialist services, which includes the centre, has been with the department since 2008. She said the centre was opened to meet the increased medical requirements of women in the Cayman Islands. The idea was to try and create one place where women could get all the assistance they needed without having to visit different departments at the hospital.
At present the centre offers the following programmes:
General health and well-being
Breast exam and education
Premenstrual syndrome care
Pap smear screening and follow-up treatment such as colposcopy
Prenatal education classes
Antenatal care by both obstetricians and midwives
Foetal diagnostic testing
Foetal well-being assessment
Midwife delivery in the Maternity Unit
Post-natal visits by community midwives
Breast feeding advice
Family Planning Services
Contraceptive advice and care
Obstetrician and midwife shared care
Post-natal home visits for mothers and newborn babies
Social services for those in need
Counselling for smoking, alcohol and drug abuse
Family Resource Centre (Young Parent Programme)
Representatives from the Family Resource Centre also go out to the schools on one Tuesday per month to educate and assist young parents or young pregnant ladies.
Fennell says that over the years they have seen the number of patients increase exponentially, especially as the centre is trying to add certain in-house clinic procedures that would normally be performed in an operating room. More and more women are realising that they can come to the centre and have everything taken care of in one location. They form a relationship with the staff, and there is a sense of camaraderie and understanding that puts them at ease.
At present the centre has four full-time doctors on staff. They hold five gynaecological clinics per week, four family planning clinics, and four antenatal clinics. The Monday to Friday calendar is always a very active one, as daily schedules feature everything from mixed clinics to midwife clinics and Pap smear screens to operating room sessions. Although the clinic is appointment-based, walk-in patients will be accommodated whenever possible.
“I am happy to say that at the moment we can take women from pregnancy through birth to post-natal care and family planning, plus parent craft classes which show you how to care for your baby,” says Fennell. “These classes cover everything from genetics and nutrition to dental care and CPR.
“We discuss normal labour and assisted labour … anything that women need to know. Needless to say we are a very busy clinic.”
Fennell’s hope is that the centre will continue to grow in the future, and include even more diagnostic treatments than it does now.
The Women’s Health Centre is open from Monday to Friday, 8am to 4.30pm. For more information or to book an appointment, you may call them at 244-2649.