Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner, Acting Minister of Health looks at a patient examining room as part of the tour of the newly refurbished St. Andrew’s??Outpatients Clinic??today.?? (C.Pitt/BGIS)

Government is committed to the continued upgrade and refurbishment of its health care institutions.??

This was stressed by acting Minister of Health, Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner, following the re-opening ceremony for the newly refurbished St. Andrew’s polyclinic today.

She told the gathering that although upgrading health care facilities in the island would be "costly and time consuming", she promised that nevertheless, government would "seek to ensure that all our citizens, including our staff can access and enjoy health care in more comfortable surroundings and hence, be able to perform their duties more efficiently".

Outlining the several new strategies that would be undertaken by the Health Ministry, Senator Sandiford-Garner added: "Recently, we have commenced an outreach programme to bring the services of the polyclinic to the rural areas.?? These programmes embrace a multi-sectoral approach and have been conducted at Speighstown and Oistins Bay Gardens.?? Tomorrow, a similar programme will be launched in St Philip."

The services to be provided will include the regular screening for diabetes and hypertension, dental services, men’s health, child health with immunisations, mental health, HIV and AIDS and counselling.?? Other features will include a "Green Fingers" programme, which will show persons how to grow plants and take care of them, along with a credit union, and environmental health initiative.??

The acting Health Minister also mentioned other activities such as a Children’s Health Fair at the Winston Scott Polyclinic, which allowed children to have a fun day while they had developmental checks and learned about good health and nutrition.?? "At the Oistins Outreach, there was a tremendous response, as we saw 120 persons within a time span of 2 hours, 75 per cent of them being males. In the coming months our Outreach programme will include Diabetic Foot Care using the Step- by -Step approach. We have also taken the new initiative to the "Boys on the Block" as well as visiting the local rum shops to discuss the importance of good health," she announced.

During today’s ceremony, it was also pointed out that as a result of the delivery of adequate health care throughout the island, Barbadians presently enjoy a good quality of life with life expectancy being in the late 70’s for both men and women.?? It was also stated that many communicable diseases had been eradicated, especially those that could be controlled by immunisation. Furthermore, food-bourne illnesses and conditions attributed to poor water and sanitation are also well controlled.??


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