Modernisation of healthcare needed

EDITOR, The Tribune.

Please allow me space in your daily to express a concern.

It is said that the Health of a Nation is the Wealth of the Nation. If this is to be taken literally, then we are not amongst the wealthy.

In another few months, we will celebrate 50 years of Independence. Fifty years in which we should be further along than we are as it relates to the Nation’s Health Care.

Fifty years since that historic date and we are still behind the eight ball in many aspects of self-governance and conservation.

While we have made strides in certain areas, there are areas that lag behind.

There is no reason why, in 2023, our Public Hospital and Clinics are not fully automated. There is no reason why persons attending Accident and Emergency should still have handwritten notes that are placed in a tray to be filed whenever by whomever while some of these patients are subsequently admitted to wards where the medical team are at times clueless to the patient’s needs.

My fellow Bahamians, the number of deaths in recent times at Princess Margaret Hospital as a result of alleged negligence is simply deplorable and unacceptable.

The Public Hospital should have been fully digitised by now. Every patient should have a patient number and any physician treating the patient should be able to access any prior complaints, course of treatment/medications, diagnosis and recommendations for wellness.

It should never have to be a guessing game and a patient should not have to always remember the date he/she last visited the hospital. It should be in the system. Healthcare should be our number one priority. While we know that it takes money to run a really efficient and effective Health Care system, persons would not mind paying basic costs if the service is readily provided.

Over the years, we have seen and heard various initiatives on the drawing board to improve our Health Care system and sometimes these improvements are in the initial stages and then the country has General Elections and governance change and these initiatives are scrapped because of party politics.

Until we, as a Nation, realise that there is only one government and that is the government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, we will never grow properly. The administration of the government may change from time to time but governance of the country should be continuous so that initiatives that are beneficial to the growth, development and advancement of the nation are carried out.

Patient care advancement through proper digitisation of records should and must become a priority. Patience and empathy should be a characteristic of caregivers. Building a new hospital without a new change in attitude of some caregivers would be fruitless.

The unfortunate death of a young mother recently at PMH due to alleged negligence is another sad case added to the many others of young women, who due to their circumstances, had to engage the care of PMH. We must hear their cries. We must hear their pleas and we must speak with one voice, one purpose.

I call upon this administration to complete projects left on the drawing board and in the pipelines by the former administration for the improvement of general health care at our public health facilities. I recommend that a government operated clinic, equipped with an up to date asthma bay, be available 24 hours to alleviate the flow of non-critical patients at the PMH. I also suggest that perhaps the purchase and remodeling of the Taylor Industries building across from the main hospital to serve as a Birthing Centre with an operating theatre, NICU and maternity ward would be an option to free up beds at the main hospital. While it is good to want to spend millions to build a new facility in some yet unidentified location, let us please look at the immediate crisis and seek some relief in the shortest timeline.

Our blood bank should also remain open at least until 10pm daily to allow persons the flexibility of donating blood on their way home from work. Perhaps even obtaining a mobile van that can be strategically placed on weekends can be looked at. The proper registration of patients would allow their blood type to be on record in the system so that when and if a plea is made for blood for a patient, the patient’s blood type is listed. This would perhaps prompt persons with the same type to come forth and donate.

How many more lives must be lost laying in overcrowded hallways? How many more children must become motherless and fatherless because we as a Nation fail in our Public Health Care? How many more tears must be shed before we say enough is enough and do something about it?

We must do better to ensure that as we move forward, it must be upward mobility that will take us onward to a brighter and better tomorrow together as a people united in love and service.

The health of a nation is the wealth of the nation.


Nassau, Bahamas

January 23, 2023


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