70 per cent of Bahamians 'have chronic illnesses'
By LAMECH JOHNSON
FIFTY per cent of beds at the Princess Margaret Hospital are registered to diabetic or hypertensive patients while 70 per cent of Bahamians have chronic illnesses, it was revealed yesterday.
Health Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said treating the number of patients for chronic illnesses places a strain on the public purse, though he did not give an exact figure.
"At PMH, approximately 50 per cent of the beds are registered to persons with diabetes or hypertension. The government spends about $200 million on health care so that should give you an indication as to how much is spent on medication and treatment of patients with chronic illnesses," said Dr Minnis on the sidelines of the launch of the National Insurance Board's 12-week Employee Health and Wellness Programme.
The public hospital has been taxed with an influx of trauma patients due to a rise in violent crime, but "before this it was mostly diabetic and hypertensive patients," he said.
Dr Minnis endorsed NIB's encouragement to staff to live a healthy lifestyle. He said he hopes the publicity generated from the programme will spur more Bahamians to live better and "decrease the need for us to utilise the medical services."
NIB Director Algernon Cargill implored all employees at the insurance board to participate in the initiative, not only to lower overall health costs for the board but to become examples for the community. The goal is to have all employees reduce current weight by eight per cent and live healthier lives.
He said: "This programme that we have that was modelled after the healthy people programme, as a part of the National Prescription Drug Plan will allow us to be ambassadors of health to show the public that we believe in what we're saying."
Employees at NIB expressed gratitude for the initiative during the launch at NIB headquarters on Baillou Hill Road.
"It's an excellent programme because it's going to encourage the staff to live and be healthy. I applaud Mr Cargill and the committee who put this all together for us, it was very considerate," said Antonette Sands, after dancing with the Colours junkanoo group during a celebratory rush out.
Camille Rolle, who is also registered for the programme, joked: "Lord knows, the staff at NIB needed it."
NIB's Medical Director Dr Kevin Bowe hopes his participation will allow the public to see the agency can practice what it preaches.
He said: "As medical practitioners and health care professionals, we promote the importance of being healthy to others but sometimes don't follow it ourselves and so we're doing this to show Bahamians that we are going to be living what we preach."
Every member of NIB is asked to participate in the campaign, which will be held from July 11 to October 7.
July 08, 2011