Days Of Air Pollution Numbered

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Minister of Health Donville Inniss (FP)

"Your days are numbered!"??

This is the warning from Minister of Health Donville Inniss, to cuplrits of indiscriminate burning who not only pollute the environment but exacerbate respiratory conditions such as asthma.

His comments were made as he addressed the official launch of the Warrens Health Care Complex, last Friday.

The Health Minister added that his Ministry was also looking to tackle the issue of e-cigarettes and was working on regulatory matters regarding elderly care in Barbados and several environmental health issues, including vehicle emissions and burning of "stuff" in residential areas, in particular.

"We cannot continue to invest more, for example, in asthma bays at our facilities, as opposed to deploying resources to address part of the root cause – indiscriminate burning in this society. So, I wish to send a strong warning to those whose vehicles’ exhaust system need to be fixed and to those who like to draw a match and burn their garbage on their properties…These are serious issues that I do not intend to spend the rest of my political career talking about," Mr. Inniss emphasised.

Instead of pumping more money into asthma bays, Mr. Inniss said, his ministry will be going after those at the root of the problem. He said the Ministry of Health continued to address a number of the regulatory issues that confronted society and strived to create a healthy society for all.

To this end, he pointed out Government had enacted a new Nurses Act, a new Medical Registration Act; banned smoking in public places and the sale of cigarettes to minors, among other initiatives.

He disclosed that he recently requested a meeting with the relevant private insurance companies to address several concerns that had come before the Ministry of Health with the aim of striving for a more proactive engagement to help confront the nation’s health challenges.

The Ministry’s focus, he explained, was to reduce, if not eradicate, the escalating incidences which have been dominating the country’s mortality statistics in recent years. He said it remained committed to reforming and redesigning the health sector to meet the ever-changing work environment, population demands and demographic and international trends.

However, Minister Inniss noted this could only be achieved by drawing on the spirit of co-operation and encompassing all stakeholders to ensure that the Ministry’s response to these debilitating diseases is effective.

"We will continue to champion the cause of healthy living for all Barbadians and are, therefore, fully committed to partnering with the private sector to strengthen their involvement in not only the provision of health services but engaging in healthy lifestyle programmes," he said.

melissa.rollock@barbados.gov.bb

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