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Opposition Leader Perry Christie said yesterday the handover of the new Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium to The Bahamas government represents the fulfillment of a promise he made to the youth of the nation more than seven years ago.
The People's Republic of China turned over the $30 million stadium to the government on Wednesday. Chines Ambassador to The Bahamas Hu Shan visited Christie's downtown office yesterday to officially thank him and the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) for the role they played in bringing the project to fruition.
Christie, who is a former long jumper, told Ambassador Hu that he wished he would have had the opportunity to jump in such a magnificent" stadium.
"I want to add my thanks to the Chinese and the people of China for this extraordinary gift," Christie said. The 15,000-seat facility sits on more than 450 acres of land that will be further developed to enhance the world-class stadium.
On Wednesday evening, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham was handed the key to the future site of an International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) and International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) certified facility.
The handover took place about two years after the stadium project started. Christie said when his government began negotiations with the Chinese for the stadium, it was under the premise that the facility would be built for the youth.
"My sole interest was to provide a gift and legacy for the young people of our country," he said.Christie also thanked the ambassador for the design changes he requested which allow the facility to act as a hurricane shelter.
"I am pleased with what I saw. It is exactly as I envisaged it when I made my state visit to China in 2004," Christie added.
Ambassador Hu, through a Chinese interpreter, also thanked Christie.
The government recently signed contracts to develop the land surrounding the stadium. The complete transformation of the complex will take about a year, according to officials.
Improvements to the roads and changes to some facilities will take place.
In April the government signed a $48.5 million contract with two Bahamian companies for the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre Redevelopment Project, an undertaking that is expected to catapult New Providence into a premier sports tourism destination.
The project is separate from the stadium.
FREEPORT, Grand Bahama -- In keeping with its commitment to give back to the community, Statoil South Riding Point, which has been operating in Eastern Grand Bahama for 40 years, reached out once again to the GB Children's Home with a special donation from the staff.
Staff members from Statoil South Riding Point took the call to give back to the community personally and came up with a special donation of a 42" flat screen TV with built-in DVD player - providing for wonderful entertainment for years to come for the children. "At Statoil South Riding Point, we believe in giving back to our community and we wanted to give the children something special that they could use and really enjoy," explained Mr. Michael Regis, (Warehouse Assistant for Procurement and Logistics), who presented the Home with the gift along with Mr. Julian Fox (Welder, Statoil's Maintenance & Modification Department) and Mr. Bartholomew Mitchell (Coordinator SSU for Statoil's Safety & Security Unit). All three men are also instructors for the Smith System Driver Improvement Course for Statoil South Riding Point Employees.
The 42" flat screen TV/DVD combination will provide for wholesome entertainment and educational opportunities for the children who have already made good use of the donation. "We really wish to thank Statoil, its management and employees who have supported us in many ways," said Mrs. Geneva Rutherford, GB Children's Home Executive Committee. "This is such a special donation for the children - knowing that it is something they will be enjoying... watching movies, educational programmes and DVDs. We are very grateful that this group of exceptionally trained professionals from Statoil considered us and gave such a thoughtful gift for the children to enjoy for a long time to come," she added.
We've celebrated the mothers, now it's time for father's to be paid their due. With less than a week to Father's Day, you're probably pondering what to get the special man in your life especially as you got him soap-on-rope last year, a tie the year before that and crabs the year before that, so you're mulling between maybe a bottle of cologne or the latest gadget. But this year, why not opt to give the special dad in your life the gift of health? This Father's Day what better way to say you love your dad than to take him for an annual physical which will not only be good for his health but ensure that he will be in your life strong and vibrant for years to come.
Ensuring your dad is on top of his health is a timely gift to undertake as men tend to shy away from the doctor's office if they have a choice in the matter, says Dr. Patrick Whitfield, a family medicine practitioner who operates out of Oxford Medical Center.
"It is important to encourage all persons, but men in particular, to get a regular check-up so that a medical professional can assess risks for common conditions that develop among the population," says the doctor. "Although many men may feel that there is nothing wrong with them and delay visiting a physician for as long as possible, in the medical field we practice preventative health which means we like to examine patients before they get sick so that early signs of conditions are picked up. This will in turn ensure that illnesses aren't prolonged or progress too far before treatment is sought. It is very important to get men more aware of their health and well-being because not only in The Bahamas, but universally men live seven to eight years less than their female counterparts and this does not have to be".
The family medicine specialist says that as a loving family member urging your father, no matter his age, to see the family doctor is one of the best ways to show him that you love him. As you will want to see your dad around for many years to come, Dr. Whitfield says helping him take care of his health now is a good gesture to give your dad for Father's Day. But he says when your father makes his doctor visit there are certain things that he should be checked for depending on his age. The doctor said men are screened for illnesses based on their age. He says there are illnesses that are more prevalent in certain decades of life, and that the doctor assesses what he considers are your dad's needs and risk levels, and screens for them.
Men in their 20s and 30s
"This age group is low on the scale for most illnesses so their screening tends to be more so to assess their risk factors due to lifestyle habits and guide them on ways to avoid problems due to lifestyle choices. Men in their 20s don't commonly suffer from things like cancers, heart attacks and strokes, so looking for early signs for these things aren't usually prioritized much in screenings. What you can expect in a screening at this age is a basic full body physical to ensure nothing obvious is wrong physically. Other things like blood pressure, cholesterol and body mass index [BMI] are also checked. It is also important at every age on an annual basis that blood tests for sexually transmitted illnesses are also taken. Your doctor should also take his time to sit and talk about family health history and the normal practices of the patient to further assess risk factors for common illnesses developing in the future so preventative measures can be taken while [your father] is still young."
As long as there are no ongoing health issues or high risk for certain illnesses due to genetics and family history, men, he says, are likely to only have to undergo simple physicals and blood screenings until their 40s when the likelihood of developing certain conditions greatly increases.
Men in their 40s
"While more intense physicals that are undergone more often tend to occur after you are 40 [years of age], it is important not to believe that this means while men are young that they shouldn't be taking care of their health. What happens later in life is greatly determined on how you take care of yourself while young. So simple things like wearing seatbelts to avoid harm in case of a car crash, amount of alcohol consumption, choices of coping mechanisms for dealing with stress, amount of sleep you get at night, and eating and exercising habits are important factors to determine how healthy you are in the years when the likelihood of common lifestyle illnesses developing increases. So even if your father has lived a good life in his youth and is relatively healthy by the age of 40, in addition to the annual physical and blood testing he should still start his screening for cancers of the prostate and colon. If he starts screening at this age any early signs of cancers developing can be caught and treated to avoid greater problems later in life."
Men in their 50s and 60s
In his 50s and into his 60s, your father will continue to have heightened physical examines by his physician, especially as it relates to weight management, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It is during these years when things like heart attacks, strokes and other ailments are more likely to occur says the doctor.
He also says most people tend to overlook updating their immunizations. Dr. Whitfield says it is becoming more common to see older persons suffering from common childhood ailments like chicken pox. To avoid contracting any of those childhood diseases, he said to let your family physician readminister all immunization shots every few years as required.
Men in their 70s, 80s, 90s and beyond
When your dad is in his 70s, in addition to regular check-ups and screenings it is important to have your father checked for ailments such as glaucoma and cataracts if he is diabetic or complains about visual problems. A hearing exam among other tests may also be recommended depending on the growing needs of the patient.
"At the end of the day, screenings are personal due to the needs of the patient and we as physicians can only determine what is needed once the patient comes to us," says the family medicine practitioner. "It is important to get patients to come to see the doctor before they feel ill so that if anything can be done to prevent conditions from developing they are done in time. It is better to prevent than to cure and men need good health just as much as anyone else. So help the men in your life to take care of themselves now so they won't have to worry about it later," says Dr. Whitfield.
Your health is the best gift you can give your family was a saying the Right Reverend Laish Z. Boyd, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese in The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands, had always heard, but never took to heart as much until three years ago when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Freeport, Bahamas -
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Freeport, Bahamas - Braving the cold on Tuesday morning youngsters
waited on the Santa Clause brought in by the Florida Caribbean Cruise
Association for their 15th Annual Gift Presentation at the International
Bazaar, with members of the Ministry of Tourism.
Bishop Ricardo Grant prayed during the ceremony before the gift giving,
while the Jr. Minister of Tourism, Winnae Hunt gave the welcome and Mary
Cooper, Director, Ministry of Education gave remarks thanking the FCCA for their
NASSAU, Bahamas -- May is the official Cancer Awareness Month when the Cancer Society places particular emphasis on Education with continual media exposure throughout the Bahamas. Its aims are to educate the public about Cancer so that it may be prevented or diagnosed and treated in its early stages, to be of service to cancer patients, and to raise funds to support their programs. The Bahamas' medical equipment and supplier Ports International is a proud sponsor of the Cancer Society of The Bahamas' 13th Annual Ball "Glitz, Glam and Giving".
The annual ball is the major fundraiser for the Cancer Society and will be held at the Melia Nassau Beach, May 31, 2014. The Society is a valuable non for profit organization offering education, healthcare, counseling and support. Their educational programs focus on increasing public awareness to all forms of cancer, the importance of screening for cancer of the cervix, breast and prostate as a method of prevention as well as early detection and treatment. It also continues to raise funds for the Cancer Care Centre.
The Society is funded solely by the public donations which are raised through the major appeal Love Lights a Tree, the Annual Raffle, Cancer Ball, Stride for Life and also by special fundraising events, private donations and memorial gifts. To support this worthy cause, for more information, or to make a donation, persons can call the Cancer Society of the Bahamas at 242-323-4482 or visit www.cancersocietybahamas.org.
Photo: Michele Rassin-Moodie presenting a donation check to Tammy Sands.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), once a common treatment of decompression sickness, a hazard of scuba diving, has moved on in the medical field to advance healing in other areas. The medical treatment can save a diabetic foot from being amputated, heal crush injuries and other wounds more quickly than traditional methods, and help injured athletes get back in the game faster. In select problems, hyperbaric oxygen therapy can do wonders, according to Dr. James Iferenta.
HBOT, an advanced medical treatment enables patients to breathe pressurized 100 percent oxygen, triggering natural wound-healing abilities to help the body recover more effectively. The treatment is an ideal solution for patients who suffer from chronic diseases, like diabetes, or nerve-related and auto-immune diseases, including lupus. Those who have experienced a stroke, burns or certain surgical procedures can also benefit from the treatment, said Dr. Iferenta, as he spoke on the topic at the most recent Doctors Hospital Distinguished Lecture Series.
"In a number of years, very soon, HBOT is going to be a standard for care, and will change the dynamics of persons who have had acute or life-changing illnesses or injuries," said the doctor, who, for the past month, has been offering the treatment at the Bahamas Medical Center (BMC) on Blake Road.
And, in The Bahamas, where some 35,000 Bahamian children have been diagnosed on the autism spectrum, parents have been given hope, as Dr. Iferenta says the use of HBOT on children with autism has been associated with improvements in overall functioning, receptive language, social interaction, eye contact and sensory/cognitive awareness. The use of HBOT to treat autism, he said, was based on the hypothesis that increasing atmospheric pressure enhances oxygen delivery to the brain to reduce swelling and promote brain recovery.
"What's been found with autism is that, when persons are treated with 100 percent oxygen, for a period of time, that they get changes that are not reversible. The way the brain cells talk to each other becomes faster, more frequent, easier ... [even though] the research is still out on autism, it's a tool that's being used more and more." The doctor said hyperbaric oxygen therapy to treat autism had not been approved by the United States Federal Drug Administration.
Concerning the high incidence of the BRCA 1 cancer gene mutation found in Bahamian women - whose options may be limited to radiation therapy, which has its own set of complications, including damage to bone, blood cells, muscles and the skin - Dr. Iferenta said HBOT, along with one or two medications, could effectively treat the breakdown of bone and soft tissue caused by radiation.
"In select problems, hyperbarics can do wonders," said the doctor. "It causes new blood vessels to form, new tissues to come in, causes the release of platelet-derived growth factor which is the source of healing in all kinds of wounds in humans. We're absolutely thrilled to have [HBOT] as a tool for our community and our patients that are going to benefit."
Hyperbaric oxygen treatment at Bahamas Medical Center
The Bahamas Medical Center monoplace (single person use) hyperbaric chamber is huge - at 40 inches in diameter - and transparent. According to Dr. James Iferenta, the chamber is so large that there have been no complaints of claustrophobia from any of the patients who have used it, to date; the transparent, acrylic tube allows patients to be able to see the doctor and the technician, while inside. With an attached television, they are also able to watch DVDs while receiving hyperbaric treatment.
When in the chamber, a patient breathes 100 percent oxygen, which Dr. Iferenta says changes the dynamics of healing. In comparison, normal air has 21 percent oxygen.
"Oxygen is the basis of life. Human beings can survive without food for up to 60 days and without water for days, but only minutes without oxygen. Oxygen can mean the difference between life, and mental alertness, and it can also mean the difference in a spinal cord injury and paralysis. Hyperbaric oxygen is a way to help to control, reduce or to get rid of most of these kinds of injuries. Healing cannot be achieved without sufficient oxygen levels, because oxygen is a lifeline for healing. Where there is no oxygen, organs get damaged, cells die, neurons don't do what they're supposed to do ... people have strokes, they have heart attacks," said the medical practitioner.
Referring to Dr. Richard Neubauer, a pioneer in hyperbaric oxygen therapy, Dr. Iferenta said hyperbaric oxygen promotes natural healing with virtually no risk because patients are being treated with an element that already exists in the environment and that the body is already using. He said using it in increased amounts to benefit the tissues, organs and cells has little or no side affects.
"HBOT helps the tissue to start healing 30 to 40 percent faster," he said. "It makes the cells that do the healing divide faster, so oxygen is a huge tool and giving it at high pressure makes it even better. When you increase the pressure, the oxygen molecules that go to the tissue help to heal things and shrink them, to get rid of infection, and that's where the power of the high intensity oxygen occurs. This decreases the need for antibiotics, because these oxygen concentrations, kills a lot of the bad bugs that we have to use antibiotics for. It stops them from dividing and in most cases will kill them because it activates a lot of enzymes, and that's important because a lot of our patients with these problems have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, poor circulation, peripheral vascular disease...they're on multiple medications, and many of them cannot take one more thing or they have poor kidney function, which is the biggest problem we have in our environment. It stops us from treating infections because we can't use the full dosing. With this level of oxygen concentration we're able to begin to kill bacteria that will cause morbidity and even sometimes even kill the patient by sepsis.
The role of insurance
While Dr. Iferenta said HBOT could not fix everything, he said conditions covered by insurance that HBOT will treat include necrotizing soft tissue infections, involving flesh damaged by bacteria consumption; chronic refractory osteomyelitis; and skin grafts and flaps.
"Diabetes has become the biggest plague on the modern Bahamian community. Everybody knows somebody who has diabetes and is suffering with ulcers, suffering with sugar control, suffering with amputation, is at risk of amputation, has been amputated or is at risk of being amputated. We have salvaged a lot of limbs with HBOT and prevented people from becoming amputees, all through the use of this treatment modality."
In a study comparing the results of patients who had been treated with conventional methods and those who added HBOT to their treatments, Dr. Iferenta said 45 percent of the people who developed a foot or limb infection and were treated with traditional treatments would end up with an amputation below or above the knee; the risk was reduced to 8.3 percent in the group that had added HBOT to their therapies.
"There is nothing that works the way that oxygen works, the oxygen made the difference," said Dr. Iferenta.
HBOT is also used in the treatment of acute peripheral arterial insufficiency, acute traumatic peripheral ischemia, crush injuries and suturing of severed limbs, ostecardionecrosis, soft tissue and bone radionecrosis, clostridial myonecrosis (gas gangrene), carbon monoxide poisoning, air or gas embolism, decompression sickness and exceptional blood loss anemia.
Conditions not covered by insurance which HBOT can be used to treat include traumatic brain injury and cerebral strokes, acute myocardial infarction, autism, acute soft tissue injuries, sprains, strains and contusions, headaches, migraines, cluster headaches, dental abscess and jaw bone infection, infection, inflammation and delayed onset muscle soreness.
While Dr. Neubauer has said that the positive powers of hyperbaric oxygen are "really a modification of God's gift to man," Dr. Iferenta says patients should be aware that hyperbaric treatment cannot save dead tissue and cannot reverse dead tissue.
FREEPORT, Grand Bahama -- Thanks to a contact from the Grand Bahama Tourism Board, the Grand Bahama Children's Home had a WONDERFUL visit from the NFL's Baltimore Ravens Cheerleaders over the Easter holiday.
In addition to the donation of gifts to the Home and a personal cash donation from the ladies themselves, the Ravens cheerleaders spent time with the children playing games and teaching them cheers - drawing loads of smiles and laughter from them all.
"It was wonderful for our children to receive such love and kindness from these talented ladies," said Assistant Administrator Enzy Jones. "We are continually blessed by wonderful visitors to our island who amaze us by reaching out to our Home. We want to thank the entire Ravens Cheerleaders Squad and their administrators who organised this visit - which was such a fun time for everyone!"
Megan Collins, Events & Entertainment Manager noted "The Ravens were excited to be able to give back to the Grand Bahama community. Shooting our calendar on the island was a wonderful experience and playing with children of the Grand Bahama Children's Home was a very memorable and rewarding experience for members of our team."