Though health officials continue to fight the battle known as COVID-19, the true war lies in the efforts to combat the wave of non-communicable diseases (NCD) affecting Barbadians, Minister of Health and Wellness, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bostic says.
Bostic delivered remarks at an ecumenical church service to celebrate the work of the National Task Force on Wellness at the St. Matthias Anglican on Sunday.
He explained that not only was COVID-19 adversely affecting all Barbadians, but especially those currently living with an NCD.
“It is these NCDs — heart related issues, cancer, hypertension and all of the others — that still remain the leading cause of death in this country, and still remain the leading sector within health-care services that still require the greatest funding by Government. Even within the pandemic, the persons who are most vulnerable to a large extent have one or more NCDs,” he said.
Though he was pleased with the amount of civil and non-governmental organizations, which have partnered with the Ministry of Health and Wellness against this fight, Bostic notes that COVID-19 and NCDS have placed pressure on the Queen Elizabeth (QEH) Hospital resources.
“NCDs [have] not gone anywhere. Even as I speak, we have issues at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in terms of lack of bed spaces right now, because Accident and Emergency [department] has once again bottlenecked with persons returning for treatments for NCDs. So this is a very serious issue,” Bostic revealed.
The Minister of Health expressed hope that with the increased interest of late with Barbadians seeking to live healthier lives, that the rate of NCDs affecting locals will soon start to drop, and encouraged faith-based organizations and other institutions, to press on in the fight against these diseases.
“If we can spread this message within our institutions, within our communities, and within our homes, if we can fight together, I am sure that we will overcome the burdens of NCDS,” he said.
“All of you can become part of the National Task Force on Wellness, by supporting and collaborating. Even though your organizations have done a lot of charitable and a lot of good work over the years, I want to suggest to you, if you can assist in this national effort in fighting NCDs, I believe within me that this will be one of the most significant things that your organization would ever have done in the support and development of this country,” he stressed. (SB)