Categorized | National News

GG Talks About Rising Health Costs

Intentional violence, traffic crashes and “poor compliance with treatment” are among the leading factors for the rising costs of healthcare in The Bahamas, according to Governor-General Sir Arthur Foulkes.

He said as a result, efforts must be intensified to ensure that individuals, families and communities are provided with the education and training needed to promote good health early in life so that as citizens get older, they are still able to care for themselves.

His comments came while touring the Flamingo Gardens Community Clinic on Friday.

The governor general said education and training will help to reduce the need for admission to facilities such as the Geriatrics Hospital and/or Senior Citizens Homes.

“While the role of the government is to ensure proper conditions in which people are able and encouraged to maintain good health, the avoidance of risky behaviour that contributes to poor health rests in the hands of the individual client,” Sir Arthur said.

He also commended administrators and staff at the facility for the work they have done in the surrounding community, but says a little more needs to be done.

Healthcare providers at the facility make almost 5,000 home visits annually, and also visit an average of 75 senior citizens per month.

“This is commendable,” the governor general said.

“Of grave concern, however, was the fact that of the 75 monthly visits to the elderly, 37 per cent are diagnosed with either hypertension and/or diabetes, or both. Some have cancer, amputation of a limb, or other chronic illnesses that seriously impact their quality of life.”

In addition to healthcare services being provided to residents of the Flamingo Gardens District, physicians at the clinic also provide weekly services to Gambier and Adelaide Clinics as well as the Detention Centre.

They are also expected to provide relief coverage to the communities of Acklins, Crooked Island, Bimini, Cat Island, Inagua and Mayaguana.

Emergency medical consultation between the physician team leader at the Flamingo Gardens Clinic and the providers in these islands occur on a daily basis, 24 hours a day.

Sir Arthur applauded the Ministry of Health and the Department of Public Health for their efforts in addressing some of the “major health issues” that are impacting The Bahamas.

He said this includes plans to decentralise mental health services to select clinics in New Providence and the Family Islands.

“Additionally, I commend the various (government) institutions for actively engaging clients and community members in determining strategies to improve the infant and maternal mortality rates in The Bahamas,” Sir Arthur said.

“I also note that the government and the Ministry of Health are committed to ensuring that residents in the Family islands also have greater access to a broader range of diagnostic services. It is also commendable that the construction of healthcare facilities in Abaco and Exuma are progressing as scheduled and that plans are underway to construct other facilities in the Family Islands in collaboration with the National Insurance Board.”

The governor general added that given the high costs of healthcare services, it is important to ensure that the public health workforce is strengthened to provide for improved training, recruitment and retention of personnel for the sustainable delivery of quality healthcare services.

“Toward this end, collaboration between various schools, institutions of higher learning and the Department of Public Health must be fast-tracked to ensure that training to meet the demand for health services is sustained,” he said.

Sasha Lightbourne

Written by Sasha Lightbourne

Journal Staff Writer

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