Health

Minister admits NHI wide open to fraud
Minister admits NHI wide open to fraud

July 21, 2017

The Minister of Health yesterday admitted that the National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme's "non-existent checks and balances" have left taxpayers totally exposed to fraud and other financial abuses...

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John McCain has brain cancer, his office says

July 20, 2017

Veteran US Republican Senator John McCain has been diagnosed with brain cancer and is reviewing treatment options, according to his office...

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PMH Provides Diagnostics Update

July 19, 2017

Management at the Princess Margaret Hospital is pleased to confirm that all Imaging Services have resumed at that health facility. In light of the recent flooding of the Radiology Department which resulted in a backlog of patients requiring diagnostic services...

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Government Agencies Participate in Workshop addressing Violence in School-Aged Children

July 18, 2017

Minister of Health Dr. the Hon. Duane Sands said based on his observations over the last 23 or 24 years, it has become clear that the violence and trauma being experienced in the country is a testosterone driven phenomenon...

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DQ Miracle Treat Day to benefit Down syndrome community

July 18, 2017

The dog days of summer are here. With temperatures soaring into the 90s, staying cool may seem like mission impossible. On Miracle Treat Day, Thursday, July 27, DQ will help you cool down while supporting those in need.
For one day only, DQ will donate $2 from every blizzard sold to families affected by Down syndrome. With 10 blizzard flavors to choose from, staying cool and giving back has never been easier.
Benefitting organizations include three non-profits dedicated to bettering the lives of those with Down syndrome, including The Bahamas Down Syndrome & Friends Center, Stapledon School and Hopedale Center.
"As a non profit group, we rely on the generosity of donations from individuals and businesses in our community," said Cheryl Johnson-Newell, founder and president of The Bahamas Down Syndrome & Friends Center. "We are happy to know that DQ has opened its arms to help us. By supporting DQ's promotion, you will be helping many children born with developmental challenges."
The Bahamas Down Syndrome & Friends Center provides a safe haven for both children and adults with Down syndrome.
"We seek to educate and provide the best learning facility for our children. We also provide a space for our adults to learn needed life skills. Our aim is to ensure that our children get the necessary therapies that they need to enhance their learning and future development," said Johnson-Newell.
DQ's Miracle Treat Day is fast becoming a staple in the Bahamian summer calendar. DQ Bahamas began celebrating Miracle Treat Day in 2014. Since then, they have raised more than $23,000 for families affected by cancer, diabetes and autism.
This year, with the public's support, DQ aims to raise $12,000 for those affected by Down syndrome.
"Miracle Treat Day celebrates life and hope and enables all of us to come together and make miracles for children and families who need it most," said DQ's Derek Osborne, DQ Bahamas CEO.
Patrons may participate in Miracle Treat Day in three ways -- by purchasing a special pre-sold blizzard coupon that can be redeemed up to August 31; pre-ordering blizzards as a group or business that can be collected on Miracle Treat Day, or simply visiting any DQ store on Miracle Treat Day and purchasing blizzards.
Blizzard coupons may be purchased online at www.miracletreatday242.com or in person at any DQ location. Coupons can be redeemed up to August 31. Pre-order forms may be downloaded online as well and emailed to DQ242MTD@gmail.com or delivered with payment to any DQ location.
All four DQ locations in New Providence will participate -- Southwest Plaza, Cable Beach, Harbour Bay and The Mall at Marathon. Blizzard costs range from $4.49 for a mini, $5.69 for a small, $6.59 for a medium and $7.39 for a large. Small or large donations in cash or by check can also be made at all stores.

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Bahamas Waste continues support of HIV Testing Day

July 17, 2017

At the end of 2015, UNAIDS estimated that approximately 36.7 million people worldwide were living with HIV/AIDS. Of that number, 1.8 million of them were children under the age of 15 and approximately 1 in 8 infected adults do not know their HIV status...

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An MS Imposter: Ruling out a Condition with Similar Symptoms

July 12, 2017

For conditions that affect the brain and nervous system, the wrong diagnosis can lead to treatment that can actually cause harm. That’s the case with a rare condition called NMO, short for neuromyelitis optica, also known as Devic’s Disease. Symptoms of NMO are similar to those of multiple sclerosis...

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Health HQ not fit for workers

July 12, 2017

THE Ministry of Health has lost more than $150,000 worth of productivity because of "serious challenges" with a badly leaking roof and a faulty air-conditioner at its Meeting Street headquarters, Health Minister Dr Duane Sands confirmed yesterday...

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Focus on Health | The facts on Pinkeye

July 12, 2017

Pink eye is one of the most common and treatable eye conditions in children and adults; about 3 million cases of pink eye occur in the United States each year. Treatment is not always needed and the course of treatment depends on the underlying cause.

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Ministry of Health Zika Update

July 11, 2017

The Ministry of Health wishes to advise the general public that there have been no documented cases of the ZIKA virus disease in The Bahamas since November, 2016. Environmental monitoring and testing is ongoing. All tests to date for the year 2017 have been negative...

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Hearing loss in men

July 10, 2017

In countries all around the world there are a far greater number of men with hearing loss than there are women with hearing loss. Studies reveal that men are 50 percent more likely to have hearing loss than their female counterparts, particularly men between the ages of 20 and 69.
In many cases, men tend to work more in environments that produce excessively loud noises like construction, farms, carpentry, heavy equipment, lawn care, factories, and other related jobs that use power tools, etc. Without wearing noise protection when at work or when exposed to the noises produced by loud machinery, these types of environments tend to result in damage to the hearing system, causing a permanent, noise related hearing loss that often ends in hearing aid use.
According to a 2010 study in The American Journal of Medicine, researchers determined that another cause for the increase of hearing loss in men is their regular use of pain relievers such as aspirin, acetaminophen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Because more men than women tend to work in strenuous jobs that require them to do significantly more heavy lifting, etc., men seem to use more pain medications to relieve body aches and soreness. The study shows that men who were younger than 50 years of age, and who were regular users of these pain medications, were 99 percent more likely to develop a permanent hearing loss compared to men in the same age range who did not use these pain medications on a regular basis. Men who were older than 60, and were regular users of these pain medications, were 16 percent more likely to develop hearing loss; and men ages 50 to 59, who were regular users of these pain medications, were 38 percent more likely to develop permanent hearing loss.
Another two factors that are considered reasons why men are twice as likely to have more hearing loss than women are:
o Men tend to work around and listen to more loud music than women do. Pumping loud music from a car as you drive along also fits into this category and will result in permanent damage to the hearing system.
o Men often do significantly more hunting (not common in The Bahamas) than women do and are therefore exposed to more of the loud impact noises produced from gunshots.
In both cases, most men tend not to use any form of noise protection gear, therefore increasing their chances of developing a permanent, sensorineural hearing loss. This type of hearing loss is permanent and cannot be corrected. Management of this type of hearing loss is through the use of hearing aids.
To decrease the chances of developing a permanent hearing loss, men should ensure that they wear noise protection gear whenever they are working in jobs that expose them to loud noises that are greater than 85 decibels. This includes when using power tools, when hunting, or when exposed to loud music. Another option with music is to turn the music down.
Additionally, employers bear some responsibility in protecting the hearing of their workers and should therefore be proactive in this area by providing noise protection gear for employees who work in construction, factories, lawn care, carpentry, or employees who use heavy equipment, work around engines and power tools, or any worker exposed to loud, work-related noises that exceed 85 decibels. This will also include those who work in service jobs like policemen, who may also be exposed to loud impact-related noises from gunshots. Men who use aspirin or other pain relievers regularly may want to consult with their doctor for more information. Do not stop taking any medication prescribed by your physician.
Protecting hearing goes a long way to having an improved quality of life, particularly as we get older. A hearing loss, even a mild one, often leads to many emotional and psychological issues such as anger, anxiety, depression, isolation, frustration, etc.
If you work around loud noises, use any type of heavy equipment that makes loud noises, or if you work around or listen to loud music, you should have your hearing checked.

o For further information on any hearing-related disorder, please contact Dr. Deborah Nubirth, doctor of audiology, in New Providence at Comprehensive Family Medical Clinic, Poinciana Drive at 356-2276 or 677-6627 or 351-7902 in Grand Bahama; or email dnubirth@yahoo.com.

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Be happy for others

July 10, 2017

I know that when we work really hard to achieve a particular goal and eventually it comes to pass, we feel real happy for ourselves, and, of course, that's only natural. However, it is my opinion, that when any of our friends achieve something worthwhile we should be happy for them too.
Yesterday evening I called an acquaintance of mine to wish her a happy birthday. Now this particular lady has gone through an extremely difficult period over the last couple of years since the company she worked for, for a long time went out of business, just after incidentally she had purchased a home. Over the last couple of years I've been on the phone with her many, many times doing my best to cheer her up and keep her motivated.
Now when I called her up to wish her a happy birthday yesterday evening she informed me that she had finally got a good job with a reliable business and was starting to get back on her feet. Believe me, her good news gave me a real shot in the arm as I felt so happy for her knowing what she'd gone through over the last couple of years. I was so elated by her success, it felt almost as if I had succeeded at something, and this whole experience taught me an important lesson, and the lesson is summed up in today's title, be happy for others when they accomplish something worthwhile.
Yes indeed, not only should you be happy when you achieve something worthwhile in your life, but you should also, that is of course if you're for real and are living your life based on sound spiritual principles, you should be extremely happy when others whom you know who have had an extremely difficult time, finally emerge from the "valley of failure" and ascend to the top of the mountain.

o Think about it!
Visit my website at: www.dpaulreilly.com.
Listen to "Time to Think" the radio program on STAR 106.5 FM at 8:55 a.m. & 6:20 p.m.

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Nurses' Contribution Central to Healthcare mandate and Implementation of NHI

July 05, 2017

The elevation of nursing professionals in New Providence and the Family Islands is significant as the Government strives to fulfil its mandate of easy accessible and affordable healthcare throughout the country, said Minister of Health Dr. the Hon. Duane Sands...

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Statement from Dr. Sands, Minister of Health-National Health Insurance

July 05, 2017

The Government of The Bahamas remains committed to the successful implementation of National Health Insurance [NHI] to further ensure that all legal residents and visitors of and to The Bahamas have access to modern and affordable health care services...

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NHI blow: 'Nothing in life is free'
NHI blow: 'Nothing in life is free'

July 05, 2017

THE board of the National Health Insurance Authority will consider introducing a co-payment system for primary healthcare, pharmaceutical and diagnostic services under NHI, Health Minister Dr Duane Sands revealed yesterday as he warned: "Nothing in life is free"...

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Lollipops of love

July 04, 2017

If you're dealing with a crabby co-worker or sour-faced friend, offering them a sucker may help sweeten them up, according to a 2011 North Dakota State University study which came to the conclusion that people with a sweet tooth have sweeter dispositions. It's a concept Michael Fountain believes in, and he rewards people with a sweet treat and words of encouragement to show gratitude to someone who has gone above and beyond in the customer service industry through his Lollipop Love program.
In 2015, after two bad experiences in one day in two separate offices that left him feeling like he had stolen something from the people he had encountered, Fountain came up with an affordable and what he considers impactful program called Lollipop Love, which recognizes excellent customer service encounters. He decided to hand out
lollipops with encouraging words attached to them after being reminded of how good he felt as a child when someone handed him a sucker.
"Being in the customer service industry for some 25 years after those encounters, I felt I needed to do something, and I came up with Lollipop Love, something that I thought would be affordable and impactful," said Fountain.
Fountain went out and purchased 100 lollipops. The day in November 2015 that he implemented the program, he had an outstanding encounter with Eugene Francis from Super Value, Winton. Francis, who was stocking milk at the store, saw Fountain looking and asked him which brand he was looking for. Fountain said Francis grabbed a hand towel, wiped off excess moisture from the container and placed the carton in his cart.
"After I expressed my gratitude, I continued on, looking for another item which I could not find. I asked him [Francis] if the item was in stock; he went and checked and came back and told me it was out of stock. I also noticed how each customer greeted Eugene and how he interacted with them. I was impressed when a child ran to him and gave him a hug. That was when I decided that Eugene was deserving of recognition. I contacted the manager to let him know that I wanted to recognize Eugene and was told Eugene was one his most awesome employees."
Since that day, Fountain said the connection he has with Francis has been amazing.
He said even though he is handing out a lollipop, he has seen what that little, insignificant act can do to people.
"It gives a person so much confidence and it's amazing what it does for that person as far as their attitude. It changes their attitude, the way they see customer service, the way they see other people, the way they deal with people on the job. It's about spreading the love."
Lollipop Love started with Fountain doling out suckers for people going above and beyond when he encountered them. That has morphed into people being able to contact him and make recommendations for someone to receive Lollipop Love for the service rendered to them.
Fountain goes to the person's place of employment and presents them with a lollipop as well as a certificate and a bottle of wine. Words of encouragement are also printed on a wallet card that the recognized person can take out and look at periodically to be reminded of their recognition after the lollipop and wine are gone. It's a service Fountain offers at $25 to cover the cost of material.
"It's motivating. It's inspirational. This is something that's a game changer," he said. "Two things I believe can change the world -- gratitude and forgiveness. Lollipop Love is a platform geared towards gratitude. It's connected me with so many people, and it's changed my attitude and the way I see customer service, and the way I see people. It helps me to want to help people to see life differently. You hear people say customer service is a lost art, and I want as much people as can to get engaged with it, because I feel it's a give back also. It's amazing what it has done for people ... what it has done for me and I think it has actually done more for me than it has for the recipient. I encourage people who encounter good customer service or encounter someone who goes above and beyond to reach out to me, and I'm willing to go out and reward the person with the love," said Fountain.
Fountain said anyone who wants to awaken happiness in the world around them needs to start by living a life that makes them happy and then radiate their happiness outward.
"If you want to eliminate suffering in the world, start by eliminating the dark and negative parts of yourself and then radiate your positivity outward. Truly, the greatest power you have in this world is the power of your own self-transformation. It starts with the one in the mirror. When things go wrong, take a moment to be thankful for all the other things that are still going right. And if you're struggling to be thankful for what you have, be thankful for what you have escaped. Sometimes the best gifts in life are the troubles you don't have. The world isn't just the way it is. It's how you understand it to be."
As he doles out his lollipops of love, he said he always remembers that smiling triggers happy feelings in the brain and reduces stress.
"Even if you don't feel happy or confident, just behave as though you do and soon you will find the joy in your life, and you'll be more attractive and nice to be around. People will be nicer to you too and you'll smile some more. Joy is infectious, but so is misery, therefore, don't have anything whatever to do with people who dampen your spirits, invalidate your achievements, or tell you what to think."
Fountain also said doing a service for another person benefits the giver as much as, if not more, than the receiver, and that when you do a good deed for someone else you become a better person.
"The positive effect that your good deed has upon you will endure long after it is forgotten by the recipient. Good deeds need not be large or costly. The greatest gifts are gifts of your time and yourself. A kind word or small courtesy will be remembered and appreciated."
Since his first day, Fountain's Lollipop Love has recognized a service station pump attendant who returned $200 that a customer dropped as they were exiting their vehicle, a conch salad stand worker who displayed excellent customer service skills by remaking two fresh bowls of conch salad that had been over-salted, without any complaint, and most recently, he recognized India Hepburn and Tyiesha Miller from Comprehensive Family Medical Clinic who were recommended by Tamara Johnson, who was blown away by the courteous service they bestowed upon her.
On the international front, Fountain has recognized a restaurant worker in Portland, Oregon, for the services rendered to his family.

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Exercising common sense in the summer heat

July 04, 2017

The temperatures are soaring and it's to the point where it can feel like it's more than 100 degrees at times. When the sun's rays are not at their hottest, it can still be uncomfortably hot. Even the people who engage in outdoor exercise programs as early as 5 a.m. still feel the heat due to the soaring humidity. And while medical professionals encourage people to engage in fitness programs, they also want them to be mindful of the importance of looking out for heat-related illnesses, drinking enough fluids, wearing proper clothing and setting an appropriate time of the day to avoid extreme heat during exercise or other outdoor activities.
Family medicine specialist Dr. Patrick Whitfield says the most important thing about exercising in the heat is common sense. If you're not feeling well while exercising in the heat, he said, people need to get inside to decrease their body's core temperature -- the risk is not worth it.
"If an individual is playing tennis, jogging, walking or doing manual labor, it is important to one's health that they take the necessary precautions to prevent heat-related illnesses," said Dr. Whitfield.
According to the doctor, physical activity outdoors during hot weather places a lot of stress on a person's body. He said the physical activity and the air temperature both contribute to an increase in a person's core body temperature.
He said in order to cool itself the body sends more blood to circulate through the skin, which leaves less blood for the muscles. That in turn, he said, leads to an increase in heart rate. If the humidity level is also high, he said, this could make the situation worse, because the sweat does not evaporate easily, leading to an increase in body temperature.

Heat-related illnesses
"Normally, our skin, blood vessels, and perspiration levels adjust to the heat, [and] perspiration is important because evaporation of sweat from the skin assists in cooling the body. If, however, we are exposed to high temperatures and humidity, sweat profusely, or fail to drink adequate amounts of fluid, these natural cooling mechanisms may fail," said the doctor. And such a failure could result in heat-related illnesses which could be mild initially, but which can worsen if left untreated.
Heat-related illnesses include heat cramps, which are painful muscle contractions as the affected muscles go into spasms.
Heat syncope (light-headedness) and exercise associated collapse are caused by high body temperature as a result of high humidity and air temperature levels. The doctor said this frequently occurs after standing for a long period of time or standing up quickly after sitting for a prolonged period of time. Exercise-associated collapse is a condition that results in a loss of consciousness immediately after exercising.
Heat exhaustion occurs when the body temperature rises as high as 104 degrees. Symptoms include confusion, irritability, abnormal rhythms of the heart, dizziness, nausea, visual problems and fatigue. Immediate medical attention is required to prevent brain damage or death.

Warning signs
Muscle cramps, nausea and vomiting, weakness, fatigue, headache, dizziness, confusion, irritability and increased heart rate are signs people should watch out for when exercising in hot weather.
If any of these symptoms occur, the family medicine specialist said people should stop exercising immediately, and lower their body temperature by getting out of the heat and rehydrating
Those experiencing symptoms should seek assistance to monitor their condition, when possible. Cooling the body can be done by removing extra clothing, fanning the body or wetting it with cool or ice water. The doctor recommends cool, wet towels or ice packs be applied to the neck, forehead and under the arms. He encourages rehydrating with water or sports drinks. If the affected person does not experience improvement within 30 minutes, he said, they should contact a physician. If the signs of a heatstroke are prevalent, the doctor said immediate medical attention should be sought.

Avoid heat-related illnesses
In an effort to avoid heat-related illnesses, the doctor said there a number of things that people can do.
"Watch the temperature and plan accordingly, and get acclimated by taking it easy at first if you are not used to exercising in hot weather," he said.
He said it could take the body up to two weeks to get accustomed to high air temperatures.
Dr. Whitfield also said people should be cognizant of their fitness levels. If they are unfit or new to exercise, they should be extra cautious when working out in the heat, because the body may have a low tolerance to heat.
He encourages drinking lots of fluids to help the body sweat, stay cool and keep hydrated.
"Experts suggest 20 ounces of water two hours before exercising, eight ounces shortly before going into the heat, a mouthful every 15 to 20 minutes during exercise, and to not wait until you are thirsty to drink fluids, as thirst is the first sign of dehydration."
Ideally, if you are planning to exercise on a very hot day, the doctor said you should start drinking water before you start your exercise.
"If you plan intense exercise, consider a sports drink instead of water, which contains sodium and potassium which are lost during sweating as excessive loss of these electrolytes can lead to cramping or abnormal heart rhythms; and avoid alcoholic drinks because they can lead to further fluid loss."
The doctor encourages people to dress appropriately when exercising in high heat temperatures. He said lightweight, loose fitting clothing can help sweat evaporate and keep the body cooler. He also encourages the avoidance of dark-colored clothing which he said tends to absorb heat.
The medical professional said people should avoid the midday sun and exercise in the morning or afternoon when it is likely to be cooler.
And even if a person is an early morning or late night exerciser, he or she should still be aware of the heat. At this time of year, at 5 a.m. the mercury in the thermometer can still reach 77 to 81 degrees, according to meteorologist Wayne Neely.
Humidity can make the temperature feel even hotter.
But no matter the time of day, Dr. Whitfield said an understanding of a person's medical risks is crucial.
"Certain medical conditions or medications such as diuretics used in the management of high blood pressure can increase the risk of heat-related illnesses. Medications such as decongestants, appetite suppressants and antihistamines can hasten dehydration. If you plan to exercise during hot weather and currently have any chronic diseases, you should consult your physician about precautions," he said.
As you go about your exercise routine Dr. Whitfield reminds you to always exercise common sense.

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