President of Cancer Support Services, Henderson Griffith has highlighted the need for increased funding to help meet the expanding needs of patients.
Speaking on the sidelines of the organisation’s 8th annual conference at the Accra Beach Hotel and Spa on Saturday, Griffith said the organisation plans to undertake more fundraising activities this year, in addition to seeking assistance from the public and business community.
“You know the government can only give us a subvention; and as we know the government has their own problems,” he said.
Griffith said contributions from non-government organisations have also assisted greatly in meeting the needs of patients.
“We got to look at the NGOs in general who save a lot of money for the government. They do a lot of things that otherwise people would depend on the government for… A lot of the times we send them home with a hospital bed, we send them home with medication. We send them home with food. We send them home with a lot of things that they would otherwise need to depend on the government for.”
Griffith noted that CSS needs at least $500,000 a year to continue to provide vital care for cancer patients, as the number of patients seeking help could vary from one per week to five or six per week.
“The more patients that come to see us, the more funds we need. Case in point, we give a patient some oxygen, we thought we’d be giving it about a week or so. It lasted for about eight weeks. It was a lot of money, over $10,000 that we spent on oxygen to give to that one patient.
“We have to continue making the public aware of what we’re doing and why we’re doing it and hopefully a lot of them will come on board. We’re trying to do the best we can. I’m looking at a golf tournament some time next year to raise money… I’m looking at some other concerts so we can continue to raise money on our own,” he stated.
Cancer Support Services has an estimated membership of 80, with 50 active ones.
Griffith also highlighted the importance of holistic care for cancer patients, rather than focusing only on medical treatment.
He added that patients also need to maintain a positive outlook, which could result in a successful treatment.
“What we are trying to tell patients, it doesn’t have to be a death sentence. There’s a lot of optimism out there. It’s nothing to hide, it’s nothing that anyone can use against you, it’s nothing contagious, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s just something that’s affected your body. You need friends around you because you need that support. You need to have your family around you, you just need to have that community to help you through it. And when you do that you’ll find that your mental state will improve.
“The worst thing to happen is for the patient to end up depressed because then it’ll affect their mental state. And I’m a strong believer that the mind is a very powerful thing. How you set that mind is probably what’s going to happen. And I’ve seen patients who took it very positive, my wife being one of them. And she’s an 18-year survivor,” he said.
MP for St Philip North, Dr Sonia Browne, told reporters that insurance companies should consider providing coverage for holistic medicine.
“I think that’s one of the things we need to look at, not only with holistic medicine but in terms of getting treatment even outside of Barbados. They tend to go with the cheaper perspective rather than the more effective perspective, and I think insurance companies need to do something about that. And two, everybody cannot afford health insurance. And this is the way I think Barbados needs to go.
“Obviously the government needs to provide some sort of financial aid to a lot of people, but we need to get the rates and benefits somehow available to the general public,” Dr Browne said. (MCW)