Fixing Health in Trinidad and Tobago

Posted: September 19, 2012 in Uncategorized

August 3

Our Health Sector needs a revamping. Efficient Committees consisting of members inside and outside of the Public Sector need to be assembled to assess what is going on in the General Hospitals and what can be done to improve the health care system overall.

The first step is to set a standard, that of the Private Hospitals, and to see what can be done to reach that standard. Sanitary facilities and equipment that hasn’t been made in medieval times is not something that is suppose to be a privilege to access, its basic health care. Move administrators who are curtailing the system by sleeping on duty when the reception area is full of patients and allow the doctors who are working hard to do their work. When doing investigations make sure that the process is fair and all encompassing and if the doctor is found to be at fault, penalize the senior doctors who tried to cover it up one time.

On the secondary aspect, a healthier lifestyle must be encouraged through an inter ministerial effort. The Ministry of Agriculture needs to support agriculture on a much larger scale in not only large farms but in the encouragement of peasant farming. The Ministry of Finance needs to reduce spending on importing food, particularly junk food and redirect the funding into our food production proving that the food is conducive to a medical health.

On the AG’s end, Legislate for accurate nutrition facts to be posted on all fast food restaurants and release the facts in public forums about the calorie breakdown in fast foods such as doubles and gyros. Slap down alcohol promotion restrictions in the same way it was done with tobacco and give us laws and enforcement against public drunkenness. Offer tax incentives to the Insurance companies who provide insurance policies which offer lower premiums to companies who enforce recreational exercise at lunch hours.

Teach the masses to live a healthy lifestyle through an aggressive health campaign and repair the broken net of a health system we have in place. Our tax $s and public policies (such as rotations and compulsory public sector service as well as a guaranteed need) provide the Public Health Care system with more resources than St. Clair Medical, WestShore, and St. Augustine Private combined x10. We need to demand to see that return on our taxes and the right treatment of us as a people. Direct us, especially the ignorant towards a healthy lifestyle, and have our medical treatment facilities run properly!

50% of TnT is clinically obese, according to a study done by the Ministry of Health last year, and 25% dying from cardiac related diseases (Official Ministry of Heath annual reports). I agree with and support the Health Minister’s campaign to “Fight the Fat.” I disagree however with a $30 000 cash prize for the Healthy Cook Off.

Non cash incentives such as a team award (rather than reward) and the publishing of their recipes in a public forum, I think would be much more proactive and progressive incentives. We need to take this a step beyond just exercise days and cook offs as well, including mass advertising the benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables alongside pushing agricultural development.

Fight the Fat because it is the right thing to do, not for a hefty profit. Also this should be part of a holistic plan. The hospitals still need to be improved drastically. Allow a healthy lifestyle to work alongside a well kept medical care system, and then you will see a healthier Nation.

To those who take all of the pretty talk of those in power who promise galore but take little action, remember-
“It is medicine, not scenery, for which a sick man must go searching.”- Lucius Annaeus Seneca

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