Minister of Health, Donville Inniss (centre), chats with Chief Executive Officer of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Dr. Dexter James (left) and Director of Surgery at the Pelican Cancer Foundation, following the opening ceremony.
(C. Pitt/BGIS)

Doctors in Barbados and the Caribbean have the potential to develop new treatment programmes and technologies, as well as become pioneers in international health care programmes; all it takes is the necessary facilitation, dedication and commitment.

Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, made this assessment of the region’s health professionals today, while speaking at an International Colorectal Cancer Conference at the Accra Beach Hotel and Spa, Rockley, Christ Church.

Stressing that the Caribbean was not in an economic crisis but an intellectual one, Mr. Inniss said: "We seek to keep doing the same things over and over again and expect better results.?? This is not a lottery game, this is serious business.

"We must hone the skills of our doctors and other health care workers and earn a reputation as creative and deep thinkers who can transform international clinical programs.?? We must stop making excuses and stop settling for mediocrity.?? Our health care workers in Barbados and the wider Caribbean can punch above their weight in the global arena," he argued.

Pointing out that Government was committed to creating an enabling environment for health care workers to achieve their full potential, Minister Inniss disclosed that the Board of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) had recently been mandated to make the necessary staffing and equipment changes to its Radiotherapy Department to ensure that persons afflicted with, and affected by cancers, are given the most cost effective and professional services at all times.

"Reforms in this area must also include a name change that is more in keeping with the provision of oncology services and the provision of requisite staff to address the challenges, whilst engaging civil society, patients and relatives in the process," he clarified.

The colorectal conference, which is the first of its kind to be held worldwide, has participants from the United States of America, Europe, Australia, Finland and the region, who are expected to share best practices on early diagnosis, screening and advancements in new treatments.?? It will end on Friday, February 24, with a live Laparoscopic Colorectal Surgery at the QEH.??

Colorectal cancer has been on the rise in Barbados, moving from 27 reported cases in 1980 to 94 in 2010.?? This form of cancer can be cured if detected early and treated appropriately.


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