Health Minister, John Boyce. (FP)

Health Minister John Boyce has reported “significant progress” in his Ministry’s efforts to respond to challenges posed by unruly behaviour by some members of the public at the Branford Taitt Polyclinic, Black Rock, St. Michael.

Speaking at the opening of a Health Expo, hosted by the Lions Clubs of Barbados to mark World Health Day last Saturday, Mr. Boyce said that the Ministry was continuing to meet with the Royal Barbados Police Force and other critical partners to take the necessary steps to deal with the issue.

The Minister noted: “It is regrettable that a small minority in our society appears to have taken these services for granted, and seek to threaten and disrespect health care workers.”

He gave the assurance that a number of responses would soon be rolled out “to ensure that we can continue to provide quality healthcare services to the public of Barbados in a safe and equitable manner”.

Addressing the theme: Universal Health Coverage: Everyone, Everywhere, Mr. Boyce stated that the pursuit of this goal has been a fundamental aspect of Barbados’ healthcare system since Independence.

He maintained that Barbados had performed creditably in this regard, with indicators of wellbeing, which included an average life expectancy of 77 years; good maternal and child survival rates; a declining prevalence of infectious diseases; access to quality essential medicines; and attendance of a trained midwife and physician at every delivery.

Pointing out that an essential component of universal health care was the ability of a country to raise sufficient funds to finance a range of health services, Mr. Boyce said the Ministry of Health was engaged in a continuing process to identify a financing mechanism that would allow Government to continue to meet the growing healthcare needs of Barbadians.

“The Ministry of Health is continuing the technical work that is required to provide the foundation for sound decisions to be made on the matter of healthcare financing…Among the factors that must be considered in reviewing our approach is the efficient and equitable utilisation of evidence-based practices to secure the best value for monies allocated to the health sector,” he submitted.

The Health Minister defended the recent changes to the Barbados National Drug Formulary which, he said, were based on “the best evidence that is available to us and in the interest of improving patient care”.

He urged persons who utilised the services of the Barbados Drug Service to consult with their doctors and pharmacists to discuss the treatment options that were available to them.

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