Minister of Health, Donville Inniss (right), Chief Executive Officer of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Barbados, Adrian Randall (left) and the President of the Foundation Dr. Stephen Moe examining documents on the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Barbados at their Third Annual General Meeting last Thursday, April 16. 

Another non-governmental organisation has come in for praise from the Ministry of Health.

It is the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Barbados, whose cardiac rehabilitation programme and training in cardiac life support were recently lauded by Health Minister, Donville Inniss, when he addressed that organisation’s third Annual General Meeting at Ladymeade Gardens, Jemmotts Lane, St. Michael.

While stating that his Ministry was satisfied with the cardiac programmes, Mr. Inniss said: “I have noted that the allowable target of 50 patients referred from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital was reached last year. This programme, which is executed under a service level agreement, has a ceiling of $150,000 per year and is part of the Ministry’s response to improving access to cardiac rehabilitation services.”

He added: “This is especially necessary since many of those who may require such services may be unable to access them without financial support. The programme has enabled a number of clients to return to independent functioning. My Ministry will therefore continue to focus on expanding rehabilitative services as a means of facilitating greater independence and economic well-being to both the patients and their relatives.”

The Minister acknowledged that the Foundation had proven to be a major force in the non-governmental health sector, giving leadership in advocacy, especially in relation to tobacco control and providing complementary services in education, rehabilitation and the prevention of chronic diseases. ”In addition to the cardiac rehabilitation services, the Ministry and the Foundation recently signed an agreement making provision for the training of 200 persons in basic cardiac life support; as well as the placement of Automated External Defibrillators in strategic locations across the island,” he revealed. 

Minister Inniss said it was clear that the Heart and Stroke Foundation had positioned itself, through effective management structures and its technical capacity, to enter into partnerships with the Ministry of Health which would enhance the provision of health care services.

“Furthermore, the Ministry’s willingness to enter into these agreements is an indication of our confidence in the Heart and Stroke Foundation and its capacity to deliver on mutually established goals,” said Mr. Inniss. 

The partnership between the Ministry of Health and the Heart and Stroke Foundation was also described as one example of “the reorientation of the health sector that sees government working more closely with partners across sectors”.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in 31 of 35 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, and it is estimated that this will cause three times more death and disability than infectious diseases over the next 20 years in this region. Locally, the Chronic Disease Research Centre estimates that of Barbadians, aged 20 years and older, 38,000 are living with high blood pressure, 90,000 are overweight, 19,000 are diabetic and one person suffers a stroke every day.

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