April 12, 2019
Minister of Health, the Hon. Dr. Duane Sands Thursday urged Bahamians to “collectively choose” to be committed to a holistic approach to well-being.
Addressing a World Health Day Observance held Thursday (April 4, 2019) in the Courtyard of the Ministry of Health, Poinciana Hill, Meeting Street, Dr. Sands said non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases continue to wreak havoc on the health and social costs of The Bahamas despite the fact that the majority of the diseases are preventable and can be treated.
Bahamians, Dr. Sands said, have a 17 per cent chance of dying prematurely from heart disease, diabetes, cancer or chronic respiratory diseases – which is almost 2 percentage points higher than the rest of the region. An estimated $25.2 million each year is allocated to dialysis treatment.
Dr. Sands said the majority of non-communicable diseases are preventable and can be treated. The Health Minister encouraged Bahamians to “collectively choose” to be committed to a holistic approach to well-being.
“Again, I refer to phrases that most of us grow up hearing that still apply now: ‘Eat right, exercise and get adequate rest.’ The narrative of eating right may have expanded, for example, eat for your body type, blood type, age. You may need to tailor the type of exercises you engage in, but exercise needs to be a part of your daily routine.
“Silencing your phone, turning off the television, ending a social outing at 11p.m. instead of 4a.m. may allow you to get sufficient rest. By collectively choosing to be committed to a holistic approach to well-being we can become a healthier, wealthier nation.”
Dr. Sands said the implementation of the proposed National Health Insurance Plan, coupled with the Urgent and Emergency Care Projects at the Princess Margaret Hospital and some of the Community Health Clinics in New Providence, and the ongoing upgrades to many of the Family Island Health facilities place The Bahamas well on the way to ensuring the best in health services for all.
The Bahamas got a jump-start on the celebrations surrounding World Health Day Thursday. Member States of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) officially celebrate World Health Day on Sunday, April 7. The theme for this year is: “Universal Health-Everyone, Everywhere.” World Health Day has been used since 1950 to commemorate the founding of WHO and its commitment to bringing health awareness and improvement to the global forefront.
“The effects of these diseases do not only affect health costs but social costs as well,” Dr. Sands said. “Reduced work productivity, loss of wages, disability, and the strain and stress on family support systems set a heavy toll on our nation.”
Dr. Sands said the basic right to healthcare and health equity is embedded in the mission of the Ministry of Health which aims to ensure “that the highest quality of services for health promotion, health protection and healthcare are accessible to all residents of The Bahamas in order to achieve an optimal level of health.”
“I must refer to the sage adage that says, ‘The health of a nation is the wealth of nation.’ As we aim towards shaping Universal and Primary Health Care that works for The Bahamas, it is imperative that the citizens of this nation take charge of their individual health. Far too many in our population are having complications with non-communicable diseases,” Dr. Sands added.
Minister Sands is pictured seated at front prior to giving the keynote address, as PHA/WHO Country Representative Dr. Esther de Gourville gives welcome.
By Matt Maura