by Walter Edey
If an integrated three-hour workshop presentation of concerns, statistical profiles of health trends in Barbados, and a possible palliative interventions and solution model can be any gauge, or guide, then an unfulfilled dream may become a reality sooner, rather than later.
Yesterday’s after-lunch session of the second biennial Diaspora Conference — Barbados Network Consultation 2012 gave a comprehensive update on the Diaspora initiative to establish a residential hospice and palliative care facility in Barbados.
The keynote address by Minister of Health Donville Inniss was the first part of the workshop. The minister first reminded the large gathering in the Flamboyant Room North, that it was the vision of the late Prime Minister David Thompson to harness the talent and resources of Barbadians living abroad.
He then provided information on various health care indicators — communicable diseases, cancer, heart conditions, strokes, old age and amputations and noted that the national heath profile was showing significant changes, some of which will require adjustments to the country’s approach to health services.
“Our elderly population continues to grow exponentially as example by the increase in number of centenarians. This is commendable but at the same time it presents a challenge in the area of pain associated with chronic disease… We have therefore established a National Health Care Registry of heart disease, cancer and strokes… You may be surprised to learn that we now have three stroke victims every two days,” the minister said.
Given the research, the projected need and economic circumstances, Inniss concluded:
“Your support in this particular area is not only timely as it affords us the opportunity to synergise our effort in the area of the development of a model of palliative and hospice care.”
Other components of the presentation included: a detailed comparative health profiles of the country; a possible palliative and hospice care model; and an update of the formation and current status of the United States Diaspora effort by Dr. O’Neal Parris.
Later in the evening a NABO-sponsored hospice fund-raiser boat ride completed Day One, but that was not before Ambassador John Beale and the Deputy High Commissioner to London Donville Johnson were seen playing road tennis in the car park- all part of a demonstration of the sport.
To complement the workshops was an ongoing display of Barbadian products and services – government and private sector. The interface was well received.
The consultation was officially opened this morning by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart.