#TurksandCaicos, September 1, 2022 – I am very concerned about the lack of clinical services being made available to our citizens at both the Cockburn Town hospital, Grand Turk, and the Cheshire Hall Hospital, Providenciales. And when I investigated what clinical services are accessible in Grand Turk, it is extremely far less than being offered at Cheshire Hall.
A number of patients have brought to my attention the difficulty in getting an appointment to be seen, and many have expressed the feeling of being neglected. And as we all know that with health matters timing is everything. Early detection and early interventions almost always save lives and prevent future life-threatening complications.
During my time as Health Services Manager and before that as Laboratory Director, it had always been the target to have both Health Services locations properly equipped and staffed to tackle the citizens’ health needs. Both locations had identical equipment, and identical complement of staff, with a few variations in numbers. Grand Turk Location handled Salt Cay and South Caicos, and Providenciales location handled North and Middle Caicos.
When I was the Minister of Health, much progress was being made in the reestablishing of old community clinics, e.g.; the town clinic location in Grand Turk, and also returning Myrtle Rigby Health Complex location back to a health care facility for our people. The goal was, and still is, to have regular weekly specialist clinics with other needed services for all islands. Additionally, to have all community clinics equipped with basic laboratory testing abilities and imaging capabilities, i.e., blood electrolytes, red and white blood cell counts, glucose and cholesterol testing, blood nitrogen levels, urinalysis, and are equipped with portable x-ray abilities. These technologies reveal extremely important and timely information on a person’s health status.
We all have to demand more from our health services providers, demand more accessibility, demand more diagnostic competency, demand more high dependency units, demand the availability of Intensive care capability (ICU), demand more attracting and retaining highly skilled personnel, demand increasing salaries of our health personnel. Hence, our people need to demand a high-performing health care system, “A Good Health System.”
A Peoples’ Democratic Movement government will recommence the work of enhancing our Health system to one that we all can be truly proud of, one which we have the most trust and assurance in.
So, what is the “good” health system that the PDM wants to develop for our people? A good system will be one that is organized in a way to ensure timely access to the highest attainable standard of care to all its citizens; one that has the right programs managed by competent well-paid professionals; one in which clinics provide constant preventive and curative care for the most common conditions, and primary health care in facilities or in the community where people live. A good health system under a PDM Government would ensure that our on-island hospitals deliver high-quality secondary or tertiary levels of care to increase the likelihood of desired health outcomes.
- Effective – providing evidence-based healthcare services to those who need them;
- Safe – avoiding harm to people for whom the care is intended; and
- People-centred – providing care that responds to individual preferences, needs and values.
To realize the benefits of quality health care, a PDM Government will also ensure that our health services are:
- Timely – reducing waiting times and sometimes harmful delays;
- Equitable – providing care that does not vary in quality on account of constituency/Island location, and socio-economic status, ethnicity;
- Integrated – providing care that makes available the full range of health services throughout the life course, i.e. from newborn to old age.
- Efficient – maximizing the benefit of available resources and avoiding waste.
From many personal testimonies from our citizens, it can be concluded that current health system is not serving our people well. We the PDM are confident that we can deliver the health care system that our citizens need and deserve.
Hon Edwin A. Astwood
Leader of The Opposition
Food Wastes while People of countries like Somalia starve; donate to support fund raising of $1 billion
By Dana Malcolm
Somalia, December 1, 2022 – Farmers around the world produce enough food to feed 10 billion people with 8 billion currently on the planet. We should all be well fed. Instead hundreds of thousands of Somalians are facing starvation at this very moment. As many as four children and 2 adults per 10 thousand will die each day. For years the rainy season in Somalia has been non-existent. Water is barely available in large enough amounts to feed animals and people, crops are not surviving, it’s the country’s worst drought in decades.
It will take $1 billion and the UN says it’s only halfway there.
Earlier this year the United Nations and Red Cross begged for donations warning that without the cash needed millions would face food insecurity or starvation. In mere weeks outright famine could arrive.
The World Food Program informed it needs US$327 million until January 2023 to effectively feed Somalians. Donations are a matter of life and death for more than 200 thousand people who cannot coax the land they depend on to yield any food.
It was said around 513 thousand children are malnourished and 173 thousand are at risk of dying from starvation.
James Elder, UNICEF, said “It’s a pending nightmare we have not seen this century. This is not just about nutrition, severely malnourished children are in fact up to 11 times more likely to die from things like diarrhea and measles than well-nourished boys and girls.”
Even as Kenya and Ethiopia struggle with their own food insecurity they continue to keep their borders open ushering in any Somalian who can survive the walk. As the crisis worsens it begs the question: We have the food so why isn’t it making it to everyone?
Several years ago I can recall working at one of the United States’ major supermarket chains as a college student. One day the manager of the produce department entered the breakroom with an entire case of bright red strawberries announcing that they would expire within the day and couldn’t be sold. “Eat, eat!” She prompted the group of 19 year olds, all from countries (Thailand and Jamaica) where strawberries are not grown in large amounts and thus expensive. Delighted, we ate ourselves sick. This is part of the problem.
Around half the total weight of food produced is wasted.
An article from National Geographic corroborates it. In richer countries that waste occurs in supermarkets, restaurants and homes. Wealthier countries can afford to provide copious amounts of meat, beautiful out of season fruit and cooked meals for residents to choose from, all of which must be dumped as soon as the expiry date passes.
In smaller countries we have our fair share of waste as well farmers who do not have access to proper storage and transportation often find their wares spoiling.
The article revealed that with all this waste ‘only 55 percent of the world’s crop calories feed people directly; the rest are fed to livestock (about 36 percent) or turned into biofuels and industrial products (roughly 9 percent).’
Feeding less of that hard grown food to animals is a start to food equity, letting cows and other animals graze on naturally occurring grass and pasture will help. So too will shifting our diet from such meat intensive meals to more plant rich plates.
These are long term goals.
In the near future the only thing that will save the vulnerable is immediate worldwide mobilisation and donations. Individuals as well as countries and organisations interested can donate to Somalia at the World Food Program’s website.
A Woman in Pain; what to do to be pain-free
By Dana Malcolm
December 1, 2022 – Cramps, migraines, back pain, childbirth, throughout their lives women are likely to feel a lot of pain. The FDA says on average women report more pain and some types of long term pain like migraines are more common in females. Despite this many studies have proven that women are less likely to be treated quickly.
One of those ‘The Girl who Cried Pain’ found that ‘women report more severe levels of pain, more frequent incidences of pain, and pain of longer duration than men, but are nonetheless treated for pain less aggressively.’
Many women have had this experience, writer Joe Fassler explained how his wife Rachel waited 14 hours in the emergency room because none of the nurses believed she was in as much pain as she said and the doctor on call didn’t bother to do an exam, writing it off as a common health issue and treating her for that. In fact, Rachel was in dire need of emergency surgery to get rid of an ovarian torsion, which if left untreated causes body tissue to die. When doctors finally realized what was wrong the only option left was to cut out her uterus
So what can women do to get adequate healthcare when in pain? The US Pain Foundation lists several ways women can talk to their doctors about pain efficiently.
- Make note of and discuss the intensity of your pain on a scale, make sure to note when it gets more or less intense
- Talk about the functional impact it has on your day-to-day life. Has it stopped you from exercising, from going out? From making yourself a meal? Note all of these things and explain them to your doctor. “When you talk about what the medical community calls “daily activities of living,” doctors often sit up and take notice,” the USPF says.
- Communicate your short- and long-term goals. Do you want to get back to exercising? or to running marathons, communicate this and organize a treatment plan
In addition learning more precise words for pain will help you describe it effectively, is it throbbing, aching, biting? Don’t be afraid to get a second and even a third opinion on your pain and finally be firm with your explanations, you know your body best.
New Health Minister Shaun Malcolm to bring World Aids Day Message at Health Expo
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, December 1, 2022 – December 1st is recognized as World AIDS Day where we remember the millions who have passed away from HIV/AIDS and increase awareness surrounding the disease to try and decrease new infections. The ministry of health has already started their week of activities for the internationally recognized day which will be twinned with International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3rd.
Events will run from December 1-10 and the Health Minister Shaun Malcolm will be speaking at Providenciales’ Health Expo giving the World Aids Day Message.
That starts at 10 AM at the Gustarvus Lightbourne Sports Complex.
Then on Saturday December 3 there will be a Sip and Paint and Yellowman and Sons Auditorium in recognition of Intl Day of Persons with Disabilities.
Tuesday December 6th brings another Sip and Paint this time at the Salt Shed in Salt Cay.
Following that will be a the Annual Christmas Tree Lighting on Wednesday December 7 at Sylvia Melhaldo Aged Care in Grand Turk
On Saturday December 10th at 7pm there will be a Sip and Paint at the Atrium in Providenciales and all events are free to attend.
There will also be free HIV testing from December 1-9 throughout the islands
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