The Ministry of Health, Wellness, Human Services and Gender Relations has pledged its continued diligence and competence in providing healthcare services to the Saint Lucian public as Saint Lucia joined the rest of the world in observing World Heath Day, celebrated this year on Sunday, April 7, 2013.
The theme chosen for this year’s observance is “Hypertension : Control Your Blood Pressure”, highlights the increasing threat to lives.
This non-communicable disease prevalence in Saint lucia, rated one of the top five killers along with diabetes and cancer, is estimated at 26 percent. The ministry therefore has maintained its thrust to advocate for improve diet and exercise in the lifestyle of Saint Lucians.
The World Health Organization, through the theme, also demonstrates patient responsibility and empowerment in evaluating and treating health conditions as compared to the traditional doctor visits.
Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. Merlin Fredericks, speaking exclusively with the Government Information Service (GIS), spoke of the ongoing programmes undertaken by the ministry in expanding and modifying current healthcare services across the island.
“The Ministry of Health is actually undergoing some major projects: commissioning of two new hospitals, we will be offering more services for persons with chronic disease like CT scans; we should be having a MRI in terms of day surgery so we are looking forward to expanding our health services,” Dr. Fredericks said.
The CMO said the ministry is also continuing its increase in the quality of healthcare services from all public health institutions.
“ There is also the issue of quality; we have been hearing the public’s cry for quality and improved quality, decreased waiting times; and as a result of that, the Ministry of Health is right now undergoing a review process where we are working with Accreditation Canada in terms of reviewing our policy and procedures, clinical practice guideline at all our institutions to improve the quality of care.”
The chief medical officer also indicated that all healthcare professionals will undergo training to improve their relationship with their patients and to assert a greater sense of empathy and patience when dealing with the public.