For the first time, people in Barbados may soon be able to donate their organs and also benefit from organ transplants as Government prepares to pass laws to start an organ donation culture here.
Minister of Health Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic told reporters Thursday that ministers had approved a policy document prepared by the Ministry to guide organ transplants.
He noted that the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) had both the experience and expertise in the area, since over the last 30 years it had performed about 19 transplant surgeries.
These transplants have, however, been limited to live donors, he added.
The new legislation, to be drafted by the Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel, is to provide the legal framework for organs to be harvested from donors after death, the Health Minister said as he briefed reporters at a post-Cabinet news conference.
With the high incidence of chronic non-communicable diseases in Barbados, the new policy initiative is intended to be very beneficial to Barbadians experiencing medical challenges, he added.
In another development, the minister announced a new czar to oversee Government’s review of the way it pays for health care.
Following an earlier Cabinet decision to create the post of Health Finance Commissioner, Lt Col Bostic revealed that the position was filled, and everything was in place to complete a costing exercise within six months and move ahead with developing health care financing.
“So, we will cost every single operation, every single service which will then allow us to see what the true cost of health care really is, and using this information it would facilitate the planning and financing of health care in Barbados,” he explained.
Lt Col Bostic also disclosed that Cabinet had given approval for the Ministry to contract the services of the Health Economics Unit of the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus, to execute a comprehensive review of all medical services in the public health sector.