Minister of Health, Donville Inniss (Left)??and PAHO/WHO Representative for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Dr. Betzabe Butron at the consultation workshop, at the Savannah Hotel.????

The concept of primary health care in contemporary Barbados must embrace a wider view from what has been traditionally practised.

Minister of Health, Donville Inniss made this assertion today, while addressing a workshop, at the Savannah Hotel.?? It was aimed at developing an integrated model for managing Chronic Non-communicable Diseases.

Mr Inniss said: "It must include all actors at the ground level who will, therefore, have an opportunity to bring about change and improve the well-being of the people of Barbados." He spoke about the timeliness of the workshop and hailed the over 120 participants, who came from public and private health care settings, non-governmental and governmental organisations, as important to the process.

Mr. Inniss added: "All of you here today are critical partners in refashioning the way we address the many challenges of health care. The primary health care service sector is usually the first point of contact for persons accessing the health care system and [it] is where the overwhelming majority of preventative services are delivered."

A section of the participants at the consultation workshop, at the Savannah Hotel,??that looked at developing??a model on integrated chronic care and management of Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases.??

Pointing out that it was estimated that almost 50 per cent of primary health care visits were done in the private sector, the Health Minister noted it was important that standards of care across the health care system were such "that there is equity in allowing individuals to access care in both the private and public sectors."

While noting that primary care services should go further than the traditional patient-doctor relationship and be extended to families and communities, he indicated that the workshop would provide stakeholders with a roadmap "to establishing a journey wherein partnerships, teamwork and community support would be highlighted as pillars for success in the fight against chronic disease."

The health care providers were also told that a new chronic care model would prove ineffective without a supportive and creative environment that allowed for change and the development of new concepts.?? To this end, Mr. Inniss?? explained that his Ministry would ensure the highest standard of public health to support the country’s socio-economic development. ??"We will continue to commit to funding and improving the

administrative and technical skill set needed to bring about the difficult, but necessary decisions to make measurable and sustainable change," disclosed the Health Minister.

And, he gave the assurance that the health information systems would be expanded to allow service providers to effect seamless transitions, as well as reduce duplication of effort in accessing patient information throughout primary, secondary and tertiary health care systems in Barbados.

??Mr. Inniss stated: "There is a fledgling Health Information System ??currently in use in our polyclinics across Barbados that can track and provide real time information on communicable and non communicable diseases. This is to be expanded across our public and private health sectors with a great sense of urgency."

Excluding maternal and child health services, 75 to 80 per cent of all primary care visits in Barbados are for chronic diseases; 25 per cent of the adult population in Barbados have at least one chronic disease, and based on international projections this is expected to rise to an alarming 33 per cent by 2020.??jgill@barbados.gov.bb

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