The Ministry of Health will support a recommendation from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for a 50 per cent reduction in the cost of the PSA examination done at the QEH to detect prostate cancer.
One hundred men die annually in Barbados from this disease. Hospital Director Dr. Dexter James said today that Barbados has the second highest rate of prostate cancer in the world per capita, and in terms of mortality, the island was ranked number one.
He said he would be making the recommendation to the Ministry through the QEH???s Board of Management in November, the month that the Barbados Cancer Society mounts its annual Movember initiative dedicated to raising funds for men???s health.
Minister of Health John Boyce, speaking at a ceremony at the QEH, assured those present that the Ministry would look favourably on the request, if not for an entire year initially, at least throughout November when the Movember fundraiser takes place.
Mr. Boyce was at the QEH to accept a donation of a General Electric Logiq ultrasound machine for use in the Urology Department from Dorothy Cooke-Johnson, president of the Barbados Cancer Society.
The machine was purchased with funds from last year???s Movember fundraiser, which raised over $53,000. Major contributors, including Shell Western and Rockley Golf Club, witnessed the presentation.
Head of the Urology Department, Dr. Jerry Emtage, welcomed the donation, noting that it was vital to early diagnosis. He stressed the importance of early diagnosis, explaining that without it, the cost of care was prohibitive, and can be as high as $15,000 to $20,000 per month.
???Therein lies the justification for this equipment because if this disease is detected early and the individual, after discussion and information, seeks one of the appropriate measures to attempt to cure, then the cost to the country falls dramatically.??? He therefore applauded the Cancer Society for the donation which, he said, would be fully utilised.
Minister Boyce also thanked the donors, noting that these kinds of initiatives were greatly valued by the public health care sector, especially in these challenging economic times.
He said the hospital had adopted a programme of philanthropy which was also helping to raise significant funds for specific programmes, and he praised the efforts of the specialist doctors, in particular, in driving this effort to attract donors to the institution.
Mr. Boyce also used the occasion to commend the suppliers to the QEH, to whom Government was indebted, for their patience and disclosed that his Ministry was working closely with the Ministry of Finance to make sure that ???we can deliver some reasonable comfort between now and the end of the year???.
The Movember initiative, spearheaded every November by the Barbados Cancer Society involves a commitment from men to grow a moustache during the month while soliciting funds for the Society???s men???s health programme.
At the end of November, the moustaches are shaved off and donations handed over by individuals and companies to the Cancer Society. The 2014 event was officially launched at this morning???s ceremony.