With the World Health Organisation reporting that Chronic Non Communicable Diseases are on the rise and taking a significant toll on the economies of low and middle income countries, Minister of Health Donville Inniss has expressed his pleasure at the establishment of a Health Economics chair at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus.
Speaking during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the UWI and Sagicor to establish the chair yesterday at the UWI, Inniss noted that the agreement, which will see $280,000 being given annually to the university by Sagicor for three years, would be instrumental in understanding the conditions and behaviours which lead to chronic diseases and be a guide on prevention measures.
“In order to achieve sustainability, policy makers must make evidence based decisions which lead to policy formulation and the implementation of practical programmes, that enable citizens to make healthy choices and live productive lives… As policy makers, we need to know what interventions work, what are the best values for money, whether the traditional public health model is still relevant and what strategies can be used to engage the private health care sector more strategically in programmes for audit and accountability…
“My ministry is therefore committed to an ongoing process of reform as we seek to ensure data quality across all programmes and services under our authority,” he stated.
The minister also pointed out that the engagement of health economists in the public health care system was going to be crucial as Government sought to build a sustainable health system.
“In the past too much of our work in health care has been based on the thoughts and deeds of a few powerful persons in this society, often times without regard to empirical evidence and cost benefit analysis. This is … a system that is being relegated to the archives.
“Not only must we know the burden of disease, the prevalence of illnesses, the types of illnesses and the treatment options, but we must also know the costs of various options available to us,” he stressed.
Speaking to Government’s response to the rise of CNCDs in Barbados, Inniss explained that his Ministry had supported the development of the Chronic Diseases Registry in 2007 and was working with the Chronic Disease Research Centre, which had completed significant research in this area including, the Barbados Eye Studies, Barbados National Cancer Study and Wound Healing in Diabetes. (BGIS)