PUBLIC HEALTH: the field of medicine concerned with disease prevention and the promotion of healthy living through public education
TUBERCULOSIS: an infectious disease of humans and animals caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis which usually affects the lungs. Also known as TB, it is usually accompanied by violent coughing, pale skin, and fever.
VENEREAL DISEASE: a communicable disease, spread through sexual contact.
In 1992, when Trinity Primary School was reconstructed after being destroyed by Hurricane Hugo, it was renamed Bronte Agatha Welsh Primary School in her honour.
Bronte Agatha Welsh (1918-1997)
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Bronte Welsh overcame many challenges to educate herself and shape public health in St. Kitts and Nevis.
Bronte Agatha Welsh was born in Challengers Village, St. Kitts on 31st December, 1918. She attended the Girls’ High School in Basseterre (now Basseterre Senior High), but encountered difficulties in travelling from home to school and left before sitting her final examinations.
Bronte Welsh worked as a private tutor, midwife and pharmacist before entering nursing in 1942 at the Cunningham Hospital in Basseterre, St. Kitts. By 1945, she was the first public health nurse in St. Kitts.
In 1949, Welsh completed a course on venereal disease treatment in Trinidad. In 1950, she pursued studies in Jamaica on the treatment of tuberculosis. On her return, she was part of a three-person team that implemented a massive United Nations vaccination programme. When it ended after three years, a quarter of the population of Anguilla, St. Kitts and Nevis had been tested for tuberculosis and the death rate due to the disease had been halved. In 1954, she studied Home Nursing Care and Supervision at the Westminster and Chelsea Queen’s District Nursing Home in England on a British Commonwealth Scholarship. In 1957, she was the first local nurse to be appointed Superintendent of Public Health Nursing in St. Kitts. In 1963, she studied Public Health Administration at the Royal College of Nursing in London, England.
In 1971, Welsh retired from the public service and moved to the US Virgin Islands. In 1979, she suffered a fall, injuring her spine. After two years of surgeries and treatments in Puerto Rico and Boston, she returned to St. Kitts. She would never walk again.
Despite her injury, the elderly nurse published a booklet entitled Nursing – A Calling or a Career?, which narrated the history and development of nursing and women’s rights in St. Kitts and Nevis. The proceeds from selling this booklet assisted the Red Cross in buying a van for transporting the physically challenged.
Bronte Welsh passed away in August 1997.