President of the Hope Foundation, Shelly Weir, presenting equipment for the QEH to Minister of Health, Donville Inniss. Also pictured (left to right) are businessman Dave Sahadath (partially hidden), Head of the Department of Rehabilitation at the QEH, Dr. Hartley Moseley III, wife of Prime Minister David Thompson, Mara Thompson, and Director of Medical Services (Ag), Dr. Dolores Lewis.

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) will get their own desk in the Ministry of Health very soon.

This was acknowledged recently as Minister of Health, Donville Inniss accepted a donation of equipment, on behalf of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital‘s (QEH) Physiotherapy Department, from President of the Hope Foundation of Barbados, Shelly Weir.

Applauding the Foundation’s efforts “at helping that department to provide a much needed service to thousands of Barbadians and others…”, Minister Inniss said, “We are certainly aware of the need to endeavour to [get] Barbadians and others back to a physical state of well being, where they can make a meaningful contribution, not only in terms of taking care of themselves but also in terms of their productivity in the workplace.”

While noting that the Foundation had always been a partner of the healthcare sector, the Minister admitted that he was a firm believer in the role of NGOs and said: “And, if there is one thing we intend to put on the front burner during my tenure as Health Minister it is the role of the NGOs. We intend to embrace them and to work seriously in ensuring that there is a strategic relationship that benefits all. Too often, this is grossly overlooked. There is a feeling that because we have a state-funded health-care system that the NGOs or the private sector in Barbados should not, or cannot play a meaningful role.”  

According to the Health Minister the NGOs desk should be operational in a few months time, “certainly in the upcoming financial year” to coordinate and facilitate the role of NGOs in the delivery of healthcare.

Applauding the work of Department Head, Dr. Hartley Moseley III, whom he noted was “performing under some rather challenging circumstances”, the Health Minister also disclosed that in the upcoming financial period, persons who suffer from arthritis and other rheumatoid illnesses would benefit from the establishment of a chronic pain management centre at the QEH. He disclosed further that already, the Ministry was putting together an advisory team to assist with this initiative.

Meanwhile, NGOs, for their own benevolence to the health care system can look forward to benefiting from a proposed Philanthropy Department. As Minister Inniss put it: “Those who wish to give… give because they have a genuine concern and they realise that their efforts can bring about some kind of relief to the many citizens of this country and I think they ought to be encouraged and therefore I have made the call to the relevant individuals at the hospital to have a Philantropy Department established and adequate staff to go out there.”

Mr. Inniss said such personnel would solicit contributions for the institutions; manage the process and extend gratitude and appreciation to those who contributed to the health care services, such as the Hope Foundation of Barbados.

The Hope Foundation was assisted in its donation of equipment, by Mrs. Mara Thompson, wife of Prime Minister, David Thompson, who, last December, hosted a function at the official residence of the Prime Minister, Illaro Court, to raise funds.  Assistance also came from friends of the Foundation hosting a July 4th fete in New York at the invitation of businessman, Dave Sahadath.

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