Acting Minister of Health, Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner

Persons with Myasthenia Gravis have been assured by the Health Ministry that it will continue to meet their needs as well as encourage the full sensitisation of health practitioners to signs and symptoms of this chronic disease in an effort to achieve early diagnosis.

This assurance came recently from the Acting Minister of Health, Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner, as she addressed the eighth Annual Lecture of the Myasthenia Gravis Association, at the Grande Salle of the Tom Adams Financial Centre.

The Senator noted that the Ministry of Health would continue to collaborate with non-governmental organisations (NGOs), adding that during 2010, it had held consultations with health-related NGOs in an effort to strengthen collaboration.??

Reiterating that the establishment of an NGO desk was still on the cards, Senator Sandiford-Garner said this would provide guidance and facilitation to NGOs whose mandate complements the national health agenda. She said: "It is envisaged that the NGO desk will also prove to be a medium for public education and advocacy programmes thereby enabling the development of a symbiotic relationship which will redound to the benefit of all parties.

Those gathered also heard that the Health Ministry, in its continuing effort to ensure effective and appropriate services for persons with illness and disability, like Myasthenia Gravis, had emphasised assessment, early detection, treatment of impairment and rehabilitation at all of its health care institutions, including the Polyclinics.

The Acting Health Minister said:?? "Against this background, the Ministry has provided a framework for action regarding rehabilitation services in primary care.?? As a result, the physiotherapy services have been expanded at the polyclinics and geriatric hospitals and the physiotherapists, with the assistance of the Rehabilitative Therapy Technicians, who are supervised by physiotherapists, are able to respond to the needs of Myasthenia Gravis patients.

"Physiotherapists are encouraged to upgrade their skills and use new and innovative techniques to tailor treatments according to individual needs.?? Government, in recognising its role and responsibility, has supported the training of physiotherapists within the Ministry of Health and this support will continue as the demand for these services is ever increasing."

However, the Senator concluded that there was also a role for other stakeholders including policy-makers, the private sector and the community to ensure mechanisms are in place to address the needs of persons impacted by illness and disability.


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