To be truly effective, primary health care should include a strong emphasis on prevention and an expanded community outreach arm.
Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, made this point today while speaking at a consultation and sensitisation workshop at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.?? It was hosted by the Planning and Research Unit of the Ministry on the Draft Primary Health Care Policy of Barbados 2010-2015.
While noting that primary health care was critical to the overall development and maintenance of a healthy population, the Health Minister urged the health officials to embrace internationally recognised elements of a modern health care system.
"Delivery of primary health care services means much more than having ultra-modern buildings to whence people come. Accessibility also means that we must also take our services to individuals and communities… Our primary health care system must continue to be accessible and affordable to all. Therefore, as populations shift and other demographic parameters evolve, we must be proactive and ensure that we are where it matters most," he noted.
Mr. Inniss also cited the employment of "more aggressive preventative strategies" as vital to an improved primary health care model.??
"Therefore, there will have to be greater emphasis placed on health promotion activities within our settings. I commend our National Nutrition staff and the Chronic Non Communicable Disease Commission for their outstanding work in raising the importance of healthy living and providing simple but workable solutions. Related to this is our effort to get Barbadians active and moving as we seek to become a more health conscious society," the Health Minister explained.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Joy St. John, in her welcome remarks pointed out that the purpose of renewing primary health care was to revitalise capacity to mount a coordinated, effective and sustainable strategy to tackle existing health problems, to address new health challenges and improve equity.??
"The goal of such an endeavour and this workshop is to obtain sustainable health gains for all… Managing health care for any country is a significant challenge, however, through proactive planning and hard work by previous generations, Barbadians can be justifiably proud of the gains we have made in health," the official remarked.
According to the World Health Organisation, primary health care is based on practical, scientifically sound and socially acceptable methods and technology.?? These are made universally accessible to individuals and families in the community through their full participation and a cost that the community and the country can afford to maintain at every stage of their development. This is all in the spirit of self-reliance and self-determination.????