October 07, 2017
Tele-health technology will enable patients to be seen in any clinic or hospital in The Bahamas and doctors will be able to have access to their records, Prime Minister of The Bahamas, Dr. the Hon. Hubert A. Minnis, said during the Commissioning Ceremony for the West End Community Clinic on Friday, October 6, 2017.
Over $2 million was spent on the refurbishment, expansion and modernization of the public health clinic that will service residents and visitors in West Grand Bahama. “This facility will serve as a critical element in Grand Bahama’s local health system, providing essential primary care, pre-hospital and emergency care, in a facility of which every Bahamian can be proud.”
With residents having awaited for the clinic to be completed, the Prime Minister said it was even more significant when the impact of Hurricane Matthew is considered.
“Ladies and gentlemen, it is simple axiom that has proven true over time, ‘a government’s spending reflects a government’s priorities.’
“The construction and commissioning of this facility, therefore, speaks to the prioritization of healthcare development.
“Healthcare, like education, national security, and the social safety net, are essential elements of national development that benefit individuals directly, while enhancing the quality of life for all Bahamians, and the future development of the nation we all love.”
As a small island nation where the delivery of essential services presents challenges, opportunities should be embraced to maximize the scarce resources.
In order to do this, a focus on sustainable development is necessary “and the flexibility to embrace innovations that will allow us to do more with limited resources.
“One such innovation that continues to have the potential to be a game-changer in the delivery of care across our country is tele-health technology.”
As the then Minister of Health in 2007, continued the Prime Minister, he explained that he had the opportunity to launch the first tele-medicine pilot project in the country via the Public Hospitals Authority. This project linked the clinic in Marsh Harbour, Abaco with the Princess Margaret Hospital Emergency Room.
“Ten years later, we are on the cusp of a revolution, where tele-health technologies are poised to enhance the delivery of primary care services, national emergency medical services, and radiology services to Bahamians, and residents throughout our archipelago.
“Indeed, right here in Grand Bahama, patients and their physicians in the Family Medical Programme, made history as part of a short-term study on the implementation of tele-health within the primary care environment.”
The patients involved were in a position to upload the results of daily self-tests for weight, blood pressure, blood glucose or cholesterol to their doctor in real time, following a brief orientation. The tests were administered by each patient in their home using the devices and without having to visit the doctor’s office or clinic. The results were evaluated, recorded by a healthcare professional and this permitted tracking and compliance, empowering the patients to improve their own health.
This also allowed the doctor to contact the patient if it became necessary, via video chat.
“In terms of public health, my Government will focus extensively on the prevention and treatment of chronic non-communicable diseases, like diabetes and hypertension.”
More needs to be done to combat these diseases that rob too many people of general health and their lives. Such diseases place a tremendous burden on the health care system of the country. “Another innovation that will allow for a transformation in how we deliver care is our progress in implementing a National Electronic Medical Records System.”
This system will link public clinics and hospitals digitally so that no matter where the patient is seen, their medical records will be accessed instantly. “This will enhance the delivery of care in our hospitals and clinics, improving transitional care between facilities and services, while expanding avenues for medical research.
“It is in this environment of forward thinking, and healthcare innovation, that we have gathered today to celebrate the commissioning of the West End Community Clinic.
“This facility will serve as a hub for comprehensive promotional, preventative, curative and rehabilitative care for the communities of Western Grand Bahama.”
The Prime Minister thanked all those responsible for making the day a reality.
Following the Prime Minister’s remarks, Canon Curtis Robinson, Rector of St. Mary Magdalene Anglican Church, blessed the clinic just before the unveiling of the plaque and the cutting of the ribbon. Also participating in the unveiling of the plaque was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. K. Peter Turnquest; and 99-year-old Aleisha Thompson, the oldest resident of West End, assisted with the cutting of the ribbon.
Also in attendance were: Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Duane Sands; Minister of State for Grand Bahama in the Office of the Prime Minister, Senator the Hon. Kwasi Thompson; Parliamentary Secretary for Information and Communications in the Office of the Prime Minister and Member of Parliament for West Grand Bahama and Bimini, Mrs. Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe; Vice-Chairman of the Grand Bahama Port Authority, Sarah St. George; former MP for the area and former Minister of Tourism, Obie Wilchcombe; senior government officials and members of the public.
The delegation took a tour of the renovated facility and then participated in a brief reception before the Prime Minister left for Nassau to attend a Cabinet Meeting to deal with issues facing Grand Bahama.
PLAQUE UNVEILING – Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Hubert A. Minnis, was in West End, Grand Bahama on Friday, October 6, 2017 for the Commissioning of the West End Community Clinic. Shown from left are: Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe, Parliamentary Secretary for Information and Communications in the Office of the Prime Minister and MP for West Grand Bahama and Bimini; the Hon. K. Peter Turnquest, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance; Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Hubert A. Minnis; and Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Duane Sands. Seated is the oldest resident of West Grand Bahama, 99-year-old Aleisha Thompson. (BIS Photo/Lisa Davis)
INTRODUCING MINISTER THOMPSON – Member of Parliament for West Grand Bahama and Bimini and Parliamentary Secretary for Information and Communications in the Office of the Prime Minister, Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe, encouraged residents to take care of the new facility and said it would take a collective effort to make the running of the facility a success. Mrs. Edgecombe was charged with introducing the Minister of State for Grand Bahama in the Office of the Prime Minister, Senator the Hon. J. Kwasi Thompson. (BIS Photo/Lisa Davis)
By Robyn Adderley
Bahamas Information Services