Categorized | National News

‘NCDs Too Serious to be Trivialized’

Minister of Health Dr. Sands said chronic non-communicable diseases (NCD) in The Bahamas are “too serious of a matter and should not be trivialized by petty political gamesmanship”. 

Dr. Sand’s comment was in response to Englerston Member of Parliament Glenys Hanna-Martin’s statement that called for the minster and the Ministry of Health to respond to the crisis of NCDs in the country. 

In a statement released on Friday, Mrs. Hanna-Martin said the country is “facing a national health emergency as a result of deaths caused by chronic non-communicable diseases,” adding that “the response must now be commensurate to the seriousness of this crisis”. 

Mrs. Hanna-Martin, in her statement, also called for the minister of health to “mobilize public health teams on the ground, door to door, raising awareness,” adding that the minister of health “should stop worrying about the ‘numbers boys’ and the Progressive Liberal Party and whatever political flavour of the day rolls up his sleeves and get real”.

Her comments were as a result of recent statistics by the World Health Organization (WHO) which revealed that in 2016, some 1,800 people in the country would have died from NCDs. 

The WHO stats also revealed that 74 percent of deaths in The Bahamas were as a result of diabetes and cancer. 

In his response, Dr. Sands was blunt, telling The Bahama Journal that there is nothing new about the WHO’s findings that have not already been addressed publicly.  

“I don’t know whether the honourable member for Englerston has been under a rock or just distracted for the last two years because there is nothing new or startling about the WHO findings that hasn’t been conveyed to the public either by me, directly, or by our health team -repeatedly!” Dr. Sands said.

“But, you know, we are grateful that she has now embraced the agenda spelled out and made pellucidly clear by the Ministry of Health and this administration.” 

Mrs. Hanna-Martin also called for “assured access to medical attention (with tracking) whether at public clinics or in-house due to immobility to treat and manage these diseases with an enlightened approach to wholistic health not just pharmaceuticals.

“A memorandum of understanding with BAMSI for the production of healthy foods at preferential prices, VAT free, it must be expressly stated that one of the roles of BAMSI is to enhance and assure access to healthy foods (fresh fruit and vegetables) for all people especially working class Bahamians who might not ordinarily be able to afford such foods,” Mrs. Hanna-Martin said. 

She further stated that exercise programmes should be initiated through the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture for all ages, and an all-out campaign that would address alcohol and cigarette use. 

To that Dr. Sands said his ministry will continue educating the public on the reality of NCDs.

“From our point of view we are going to continue to educate the public on the reality of NCDs and the horrible burden borne by the Bahamian people,” Dr. Sands said.

“We will continue to advocate for healthier diets that are available and affordable and promote increased physical activity. 

“Our campaigns like the successful ‘Whatcha Cookin’ will continue for a second season. We will soon reveal the encouraging results of our wellness programs promoting healthy choices.

“But ultimately, what we really look forward to is a real partnership with all Bahamians, irrespective of political ilk or bias. 

“You know such a serious matter ought not to be trivialized by such petty political gamesmanship.” 

Written by Jones Bahamas

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