Minister of Health and Wellness Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic, has emphasized the importance of research as Government looks towards making medical marijuana more accessible to the public.
Speaking to doctors and researchers at the 18th annual Professor Errol E. R. Walrond Scientific Symposium last Friday, Lt. Col. Bostic lauded Professor Walrond’s ethics case presentation on medical marijuana as an excellent example of such research.
He noted that traditionally, Barbados has looked to regional and international institutions to be leaders in clinical research, but he posited that research “should begin at home”. “Research which is initiated within our community is culturally relevant and sensitive to our particular needs, which differ from those of other countries.” Acknowledging the value of the symposium in this regard, he added, “We must seek to innovate, develop and implement what is ours instead of always importing foreign ideas and processes and then adapting them to suit our situations.”
The Health and Wellness Minister noted that some of the research work presented by symposium participants addressed the cost-effectiveness of some interventions. He welcomed this, explaining that it was important for the Ministry to have a clear idea of cost with regard to health services in order to assess the socioeconomic impact of the disease profile in Barbados.
Lt. Col. Bostic told his audience that every time he reiterated the cost of health care in Barbados, “there were those who emerge to imply that the Government will start charging for health care. This is far from the truth”. He explained: “My goal is quite simple. That is to remind Barbadians that health care here, like anywhere else, is quite costly; secondly, that the State cannot provide all clinical interventions free of cost to all end users; thirdly, that taxes paid cannot and have never been enough to provide everything; and fourthly, that we can work together to contain cost without compromising on quality of service.”
He told the researchers that their work was extremely important in helping Government achieve the goal of cost containment without compromising quality. Arguing that too often the proposals emanating from researchers were relegated to academic journals, Minister Bostic challenged the group to move a step further. “Let your work help us to effectively shape policies and improve upon efficiencies in our public and private health care system,” he urged.