Minister of Health, Donville Inniss

Population ageing is placing a strain on Government’s resources and, to this end, Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, is urging the country’s youth to plan better for their future.

The Health Minister bemoaned the fact that not enough young people were purchasing insurance plans, investing or saving towards retirement. He made the comments recently, while addressing students pursuing the Master of Public Health (MPH) degree at the University of the West Indies’ Faculty of Medical Sciences, Cave Hill Campus.

Mr. Inniss explained that, instead, too many individuals were sitting back on their laurels, waiting for Government to take care of them when they reached "a ripe, old age".

"They do not make enough of a serious effort to plan for the day when they may get to the age of 65, 70 or 75… Not everybody will be able to invest in a retirement plan or buy an additional income property. But, if we can get a few more younger individuals really paying attention to their future, I think that in another 20 or 30 years, we are going to have a different scenario than what we have now where there is a tendency to sit back and think that the state will provide for you when you reach [retirement age]," the Health Minister said.

The life expectancy for Barbadian males is age 76, while that for females is 78, Mr. Inniss pointed out. He acknowledged that the country never adequately prepared itself for population ageing and was not faced with a situation where almost 17 per cent of the population was over the age of 65.

He said Government was now "grappling" with this problem to ensure that those who reached retirement age had a good quality of life.

"The Ministry of Health is addressing that on many fronts in terms of improved clinical care, enhanced facilities as well as strategic linkages with the other parts of our state," he said.

Mr. Inniss challenged the MPH students to adjust their thinking when approaching public health care and become agents of change in their respective fields when they completed their studies.


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