Minister of Health, Donville Inniss (FP)

Government is seeking to improve the services offered to Barbadians in the primary health care system.??

According to Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, with the completion of the St. John Polyclinic scheduled for later this year, the focus now has to be on recognising the disease profile of the society and tailoring the services offered to address the needs of the community.

"We are perhaps addressing more non-communicable diseases [and] lifestyle related illnesses…Having polyclinics strategically located around the island, we have to ramp up the emphasis on the range of services we are offering to the community.

"If you take, for example dental care, the range of services we are offering [in this area] is very limited to the indigent, to minors and a few others.?? We are not really doing extractions and some other necessary oral care activities, so, therefore, we have as part of the new mandate to look at improved oral care within polyclinics," he added.

Speaking with regard to some initiatives already on stream, Mr. Inniss pointed out that work had been done in the area of mental health as part of the improvements in primary health care. "The Psychiatric Hospital, which [has] about 500 beds can’t handle everybody, plus, in a thrust to further de-stigmatise mental illness, we need to take it back into the community…If persons are having mental challenges, it doesn’t mean they have to go to the Psychiatric Hospital…We actually now have a couple of community mental health nurses that work out of our polyclinic system that can go into the community and treat some individuals," he said.

Focus has also been on HIV and AIDS and includes efforts at reducing the stigma associated with the disease, as well as the enhancement of services already offered such as testing, counselling and treatment.??


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