Minister of Health addresses cost effectiveness of primary health care

Hon. Marcella Liburd

(Labour Secretariat) 26 02 2010: Minister of Health, Social Services, Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs, Hon. Marcella Liburd has revealed that the Ministry of Health is conducting a campaign that would address the cost effectiveness of the country’s primary health care services.

“I am pleased to alert you to the ministry of health’s campaign to renew our country’s commitment to primary health care. This approach allows us to provide more high quality services in communities close to where people live and work,” she said.

Liburd was at the time making her first public appearance, since her appointment as the Federation’s Minister of Health, at the Lions Club of Basseterre eyeglasses collection drive, held last Saturday afternoon -where she made the feature address.

“We believe that dental care should be provided at health centers, so too should physical therapy, nutrition counseling and health education to name a few,” she outlined, adding that the ministry is working on a formula to provide lab X-ray and eye care services in facilities such as the Pogson Medical Centre in Sandy Point and Mary Charles hospital in Molineux.

Liburd is of the view that inhabitants of this country should not always have to visit the Joseph N. France General Hospital (in Basseterre) to receive eye care services, but that the team should make home visits as well.

She continued: “Additionally in the not-too- distant future, my government will unveil a plan that offers all services in hospitals, health centers and senior citizens homes without charge at the point of care. In other words, all services will be pre-paid. There will be more details about the contribution to this plan at a later time. Suffice it to say, that the plan also envisages coverage for services, which cannot be provided in the Federation.”

Liburd highlighted that the ministry is excited about the health and medical benefits plans because dental care and eye care will be part of it.

“It is a well-ness plan. This is an extremely important point. People who get their regular check-ups, vaccinations, foot checks, pap smears, mammograms and prostate examinations will be rewarded. The plan should help us to pay for dialysis and MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) on island,” she said.

Liburd has given the assurance that “during my watch, the Ministry of Health shall place more emphasis and give greater incentives to health care providers who keep us healthy.”

The Health Minister said she is not referring to doctors and nurses only, but also to health inspectors, dentists and pharmacists and indeed the entire work force.

“We have to stop throwing money at sickness and injury. Prevention is always better than cure and cheaper too,” she stated.

As indicated by her “The wealth of a nation is not in its treasury even though that is very important- but in the health care system. Having the awesome responsibility to keep the nation healthy, thrust upon me, I call on your Lions Club of Basseterre to join the new campaign for a fit and healthy nation. Fitness and good health include the health of the eyes.”

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