Donville Inniss – Minister of Commerce, and International Business
“The Freundel Stuart administration says it is sticking to its guns to make Barbadian students at the University of the West Indies start pulling their pockets for tuition fees from next year even though welcoming a new private sector fund to bail out those who cannot afford to pay…The firm position was taken today by Minister of Commerce, and International Business, Donville Inniss, while launching a new charity known as Global Education Scholastic Trust…Inniss said the Government had done the right thing in the circumstances of the economic climate, and would carry through with it…It is not easy for me as a politician that would have taken in recent debates to reduce fees at UWI with effect from 2014, but it is one of those things we felt we had to do, and we stand by that decision.”
What else can one expect from an uncaring Government, whose scions – and probably their scions’ scions – have had a free education at the UWI Cave Hill Campus? The motto of this Government is now “after me the deluge”! Is this the same Government that Minister Blackett called people-centred? I guess he means centred around the 16 DLP Government MPs, but night runs till day catches it!
Minister Inniss can spare us his crocodile tears!
You do not have money for our students at UWI Cave Hill, nor for the QEH, but you have millions of dollars in waivers – including one for food and beverage which no hotel has had before – to throw at a multi-millionaire named “Butch” Stewart, although he took over a hotel here and promised to develop and refurbish it so that Barbadians could get work, but absconded leaving it to moulder and the iron in it to rust! This left those who had hopes of getting a job there up the creek without a paddle! “Is that “the right thing in the circumstances of the economic climate”, Minister Inniss?
“I would like to say to them, if they are incapable of running this country in such a way as to preserve these fundamental social rights of the Barbadian people – that is the right to free education, the right to free health care – then they should really relinquish the reins of Government and let somebody else try,” – David Commissiong
I Kammie Holder endorse the aforementioned comments despite the pervasive vindictiveness so evident in Barbados for speaking honestly and having an opposing view. The recent pronouncement by Honourable John Boyce that user fees may have to be introduced at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital QEH seems reactionary.
Below are 8 points why I am against any wholesale fees at QEH without broad consultation as required under servant leadership.
Popular herbicide Roundup is a watered down version of agent orange
Some people eat apples as portrayed in the mass media from the side to the core, some eat from the bottom or top end because that way you eat the whole apple leaving only the seeds and stem, some people scrape the wax off of the apple before eating it. Most people don’t even know that some apples are dipped in wax to preserve it for years, some people read the bar code to see if it is an organic apple, some people peel the apple because they know the skin is the part that gets the most chemical spray, I personally don’t eat the red apple because it is imported, I prefer a mammy apple, golden apple or sugar apple. However way too much people have no idea what they are putting into their body. We tend to think that because it is sold in a supermarket it is good for us, we are inclined to forget that the supermarket is a business (to make a profit) it has nothing to do with our health.
There is an interesting link between chemicals used in war and chemicals used in food production which is not well known – we war with each other and we war with Mother nature. Chemicals used in agriculture are actually watered down versions of the chemicals used in war. Fertilizer use exploded onto the scene after the first world war because the war machinery that was used to create chemicals for bombs had to find an alternative use, it was easy to convert to be used in agriculture. The ammonium used in explosives is actually the same ammonium used in fertilizer, you should recall the Oklahoma City bombing.
Should the money spent on sex education be re-allocated?
Having harboured a long-standing belief that the time, effort and costs associated with government and/or NGO supported education programs designed to modify negative or dangerous human behaviour mainly serves as a means of employment for the various program facilitators, it was heartening to learn, beginning two or three years ago, that the rate of new cases of HIV infection had begun to decline as the effects of educating people in safe-sex practices had borne fruit.
Now, though, we seem to be faced with a conundrum, as the Chief Medical Officer has taken to both print and visual media to warn of an alarming spike in cases of syphilis. As we are all aware of how this infection is transmitted, claims for the efficacy of safe-sex education go out the window. Importantly, eliminating this red herring in the reported decline of HIV infection should provide an impetus for researchers to discern the proximate cause for this phenomenon.
Expecting Barbados food sources to transform from export to domestic is a very mighty task. This is compounded by the fact that we get up to five times our population in tourists annually. The result: the demand for food fluctuates too quickly for farmers to accurately judge what the market will be like when the crops are ready to harvest up to four months away. Our previous agriculture model of exporting sugar had numerous advantages for our small island. The fact the sugar takes a long time to expire and has excellent shipping and handling properties means that the farmer was almost guaranteed that his crop would be sold.
If agriculture is to survive given our small population, and benefit a greater number of people, not just the few that can afford the protection of the large greenhouses required if you want to grow vegetables for profit. We either have to find a more suitable export crop or promote the kitchen garden again. Baird Village Aquaponics has done some interesting research into finding an export crop. We researched rice, tobacco, grapes and soybean – all good – but Quinoa as a food crop for Barbados is showing the most real life potential, international research suggests the plant does not do well at low elevations, but Barbados has a very interesting environment that I personally believe can grow any crop.
Over the past few days the corporate, global, propaganda media have been glorifying the ‘self immolation’ of Angelina Jolie as brave and an answer to breast cancer for the women of the world. We consider that Jolie is being turned into a buffoon by the corporate media. Such a person should be receiving our well wishes and not be projected, for ratings etc, for some kind of perverted virtuousness. The simple truth, to this complex issue, is that merely cutting off body parts is not an answer for cancer. For the biochemistry of a human body does not build a fire wall between breast tissue and the rest of the body. The media promotion of double mastectomy as a viable solution is dangerous and has implication for all the women of the world, especially young girls, and sets a staggeringly new (low) standard in the pervasiveness of a new corporate culture – a culture that will be coming to a clinic near you, real soon.
The medical establishment has failed for decades to find their elusive cure to any cancer. In the interim that medical industrial complex continues to profit from the suffering of mankind. Sometimes their treatment modality is worse than the disease itself. We have a case, not in Barbados, where an 83 years old woman was being encouraged by a doctor to have a $500K operation to remove a clot from her brain. We can present hundreds of cases like this one. Where is this money going? Have conventional doctors everywhere loss their ability to care? Why is the patient not the most important person in the health care system? To what extent do medical practitioners answerable to pharmaceutical and other corporate interests? To what extent are we prepared to commodify medicine? Are we prepared to see old people die in the service of corporates? It is this same medical industrial complex that seeks to profit by inventing new diseases like AIDS, SARS, etc. The media supports conventional medicine as a Holy Grail. To them this is beyond question. Doctors are used to giving patients drugs without even a good understanding about their testing, trial and general efficacy. No wonder 120K people die every year in the USA from the effects of pharmaceutical drugs alone. Hundreds of thousands more die as a result of other medical errors. When the food industry is working hand and glove with the medical industry to manufacture an endless line of sick people by feeding them what Professor Pollen has called ‘edible substances’, like Purity Bakeries bread, which can stay ‘fresh’ for years without organic growths.
This is a very emotional issue for me so I will try to keep focused while making this submission.
Three months ago my father, the late Samuel Weekes sustained and injury while he was at the St Philip Geriatric Hospital.
Daddy was injured on the 11th of January 2013 and sustained what the attending doctor called “soft tissue damage”.
That Doctor prescribed Panadol, Paracetamol and Voltaren. Five days later, on the 16th of January, Daddy was transferred to the QEH.
Eight days later on the 24th of January, I received a call from the QEH indicating that Daddy actually suffered a fractured hip from his fall on the 11th of January during which time a doctor is prescribing Panadol and Voltaren.
QEH requested me to come and sign consent forms for an operation, which I did the same day.
In Barbados many think of the healthcare sector has those services delivered by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and to a lesser degree, the polyclinics. This is wrong. The video provided (16 min) is worth watching to dispel such thinking. As an educated nation in 2013 we need to keep pace with how progressive countries are managing healthcare to deliver a QUALITY result.
Barbados is more than an economy is always a profound cliché emanating from the flattering lips of our leaders. Our ratio of action to pretty pronouncements would be weighted in the favour of action if they only believed what they read from their well written speeches. Barbados has 1,600 kilometres (990 mi) of public paved roads. In 2010, an assessment released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) of the United Kingdom, ranked Barbados 6th in the world, and the top spot in the Western Hemisphere for road network density. We have heard estimates of up to 140,000 registered vehicles on the roads in Barbados. No mischief is intended but could there be any environmental links which have cursed Barbados with rankings of #3 in Prostate Cancer, #13 in Breast Cancer, #13 Colon Rectum Cancer and #9 as it relates to Lymphomas.
Let me share an excerpt from a BBC report dated June 12,201, “Exhaust fumes from diesel engines do cause cancer, a panel of experts working for the World Health Organization says. It concluded that the exhausts were definitely a cause of lung cancer and may also cause tumours in the bladder. It based the findings on research in high-risk workers such as miners, railway workers and truck drivers. However, the panel said everyone should try to reduce their exposure to diesel exhaust fumes.” (Source,The International Agency for Research)
Barbadians who know the Grant family were shocked to learn in April of 2012 that they were charged with the theft of over $1/2 million dollars. The alleged criminal act is reported to have taken place at the Sandy Crest Medical Centre in St. James. Bail was posted at $250,000.00 for each of the accused, with two sureties. Regrettably Carole-Anne Grant, the matriarch, has since passed no doubt as a result of the tremendous stress the matter had placed on her health.
And why was BU shocked? The conceptualization of Sandy Crest was entirely done by Dr. Malcolm Grant in 2003. The Grants – husband and wife team – later approached Dr. Brian Charles and as they say the rest is history. After several years of a happy partnership both the business and social relationship soured.
Group based at Simon Fraser University researching medical tourism in Barbados
The emergence of the private health care sector in Barbados has grabbed the attention of BU in recent times. One of the problems we face in Barbados is that we seem to make decisions without considering robust research. One such area is medical tourism. BU did a scan of the Democratic Labour Party’s Manifesto and we were not able to find any significant mention, and it was not a serious election platform issue. How important is medical tourism to the strategy to diversity our tourism product?
BU would have preferred the University of the West Indies to have undertaken any research to establish the viability of the medical tourism sector but we are not there yet. We note however that a research group based at Simon Fraser University (SFU) in Canada has generated a study which can be used to inform discussion on the subject of whether to establish a medical tourism sector.
Chief Medical Officer Joy St. John (l) Donville Inniss former minister of health – Source: Barbados Advocate
Three months later a routine query from Peter Heimlich (the son of the man who created the Heimlich manoeuvre) remains outstanding. BU first highlighted this matter in a December, 07, 2012 blog – Asthma Study Conducted at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Questioned. Minister Donville Inniss is currently preparing to contest in a general election on Thursday, Peter Heimlich will likely have to wait a little longer for a response to his query about a medical study using the “Heimlich manoeuvre for asthma” conducted on 67 children.
Here is the letter sent by Peter Heimlich in response to an email request from the minister on Jan 5, 2013. BU wonders why a minister has to be so intimately involved in this matter. This is a routine request which one of the health administrators should have executed on weeks ago.
See a full report on this matter on Heimlich’s blog – The Sidebar.
The following was posted on another BU blog by Nostradamus
Nation Newspaper today Feb 14, 2013 front page headline “Dengue worry”. Start of the story says “There has been a worrying spike in dengue cases so far this year. And the Ministry of Health views the situation so seriously that it has issued a bulletin to doctors, reminding them to report any suspected cases of the disease.”
Further on it says the Ministry of Health stated in a release that among other things that it would maintain surveillance at various sites and one of those areas noted is WETLANDS. Is the Ministry of Health aware that the sluice has not and is not functioning and that there has been no effective wetland water level control in place for many years ? No interchange of sea water and fresh water that is so vital to the health of the wetland and for a vibrant fish population to control mosquitoes naturally? When the sluice gate worked, it was possible to raise the water levels and get water flowing through the canals. Flowing water in the canals means fewer mosquitoes.
Peter Wickham, talk show host, pollster and social commentator join many others daily to spare no opportunity to sing the praises of Minister of Health Donville Inniss. Perhaps it explains why he was invited to Inniss’ New Year bash? If in the minds of many Inniss is doing a good job then all credit to him he must be doing some thing right. Despite the praise being heaped on Inniss BU remains concerned at the state of the healthcare system in Barbados.
In the Christmas message of the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners’ (BAMP), President Carlos Chase was highly critical of the management of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH). To quote a local daily newspaper: “BAMP has also slammed the lack of progress in talks between them on ongoing contentious matters. The continuing shortages at the institution came under fire from BAMP too.” Implied in the report is that the industrial relations climate at the QEH continues to simmer read Alexandra. The QEH is the primary health institution in Barbados which falls under Minister Donville Inniss.
Of wider concern to BU is the emergence of a budding private healthcare system in Barbados. We are not knocking entrepreneurship but BU reserves the right to question and to share our observations in the interest of promoting transparency and encouraging elucidation. A comment on an earlier blog questioned the lack of transparency by government regarding the Al Barrack transaction. It is ironic that more than five years ago the late David Thompson promised an electorate hungry for change that should they win office – and they did – they would introduce a level of transparency in government hitherto unseen. With another general election looming Barbadians have a chance to be judge and jury.
A country is not the concrete structure, people make a country. Much money is spent on health care and education to ensure we are healthy and literate. Thus many are literate enough to understand the hazards of illegal dumping. This January 1st, 2013 Nation Newspaper article which is attached speaks of a problem we pay lip service to.
Is there any truth that a petty squabble between two government department stands in the way of a Freighters Waste Certification System implementation with hundreds of books already printed? Now, some will say the Minister as CEO of a Ministry should not be blamed. But all blame must lie at his feet as well as his management team so tasked with its implementation.
I can recall a television registration system which supported the television licensing system. Dr Denis Lowe are you telling me with all the brain power of your staff and the Data Processing Department a database cannot be created for a Central Computer Register of large appliances for tracing?
Submitted by Dr Georgie Porgie (feel free to ask any questions)
Click image to view presentation on Diabetes
“Chronic diseases, including the quartet of silent killers, obesity, hypertension heart disease and diabetes, now represent the most significant health care problem and the most important cause of mortality confronting the English-speaking Caribbean. Significantly all of these conditions have the same strong lifestyle components as risk factors and demand a common approach to prevention and management. In Barbados it is estimated that 25,000 people have diabetes and if the present trend continues this figure may double by 2020. Recent figures suggest that diabetes and its related complications account for a huge burden of disease and debt much of which may be preventable.”
Dr. James (l), Minister of Health Donville Inniss (r) – Image/Barbados Advocate
In discussing the spiralling cost of health care at the QEH, the Nation’s editorial of Dec 13th mentions, inter alia, the ” new development of a lot more older patients needing greater intensive care.” While cloaking itself in a mantle of love for our fellow man, the tragic irony is that among the elderly the struggle against disease has begun to look like the trench warfare of WW1: little real progress in taking enemy territory but enormous economic and human cost in trying to do so.
Our main achievements today consist of devising ways to marginally extend the lives of the very sick. In the war against disease, we have unwittingly created a kind of medicine that is barely affordable now and forbiddingly unaffordable in the long run. Ours is now a medicine that may doom most of us to an old age that will end badly: with our declining bodies falling apart as they always have but devilishly—and expensively–stretching out the suffering and decay.
This may be called many things, but “loving” does not apply.
World Alzheimer’s Day was recognized on September 21 and Barbadians were sensitized to the plight of many who suffer from this disease through a collaboration between the local Alzheimer’s Association and Central Bank of Barbados. The objective, to raise 5 million cents to assist with the construction of a day care centre for sufferers of Alzheimer’s .
Recently, the British intellectual and journalist, Will Hutton, asked the question: “How do you successfully break a mistaken and destructive intellectual consensus?” It set me off immediately thinking of the cosy social world and the mental processes in which the political, professional and academic elites in Barbados conspire to converge on the same ideas, which are implemented in much the same way, often by the same people – and, no matter which party is in control, they all expect different results.
Two ideas come to mind: the break of the consensus by the attorney general on the silly and ill-advised decision to plant taxpayers’ money in to the Four Seasons project, which he rightly sees as a private investment which should be let to private investors. The other is equally as irresponsible, the decision to build a spanking new Bds$800m hospital in Kingsland. Both ideas are loopy and reveal the poverty of our policy-making, especially when it comes to major capital projects.
First, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, opened to the public in 1963, which competent and firm management cannot sort out. What patients are complaining about are issues such as time-wasting, spending hours before being seen by a doctor in Accidents and Emergencies, of under-productive nurses spending time on the wards talking to each other while surgical patients are in pain and crying out for help, over-paid and arrogant, sometimes even questionably competent, doctors being on the public payroll while spending their time looking after their private patients. The list goes on. So, to the ordinary man and woman in the street, the real problem at the QEH is not the building, although that us falling apart, but what goes on inside the building.
“War on Health” is a must see documentary showing the conflicts of interest that governs the US Food and Drug Administration where powerful multinational corporations have come to have an undue influence on FDA regulators with regards to determining the safety of nutritional supplements, pharmaceuticals and new foodstuffs containing genetically engineered substances.
The FDA does no testing on new pharmaceutical products itself, but relies on the reports produced from the testing carried out by the drug manufacturers. In too many cases the drug manufacturers ignore or down play possible side effects in these reports in order to get permission to put their drug on the market.
The documentary gives numerous examples of how the pressure and influence of “big-pharma” on the FDA leads to unsafe drugs being let onto the market, and after the serious and debilitating side effects (including in some cases significant increases in death rates) can no longer be ignored or glossed over, the FDA is forced to issue recall notices to take these drugs off the market. However by that time many unnecessary deaths or injuries to consumers may have occurred.
Now isn’t it ironic that the parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Health, Senator Virginia Irene Sandiford-Garner happens to be the DLP candidate for St. Andrew, yet her administration takes a decision to site the new general hospital in Christ Church? Totally disadvantaging the folks in the northern parishes encompassing St. Andrew, St. Peter, St. Lucy (DLP stronghold held by Minister Denis Kellman), St. Joseph, St. Thomas and St. James.
Does the DLP really plan on making any inroads into the constituencies in these parishes? Certainly that decision to site the new general hospital will impact on Senator Sandiford-Garner’s chances as DLP candidate for St. Andrew in the next general election. Wait a second…was not her specific function as dictated by the late PM David Thompson the redevelopment of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital? By deciding to move ahead with a new general hospital, does it signify that the goodly Senator has failed in her role to redevelop the QEH?
Yesterday we heard the Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, indicate that the site chosen for the new $800MM hospital is in Kingsland. Firstly, I state that I am pleased that Donville Inniss has taken an open approach to the blogs, by choosing to comment. I also think that Donville has a good political future. However, there are issues related to the new hospital and its location, that I wish to highlight, as relevant to all projects.
Firstly, on the point of location, we are told that relevant stakeholders have discussed this, or at least the news report refers to the Town Planning etc. My question is, how can relevant stakeholders be seen to be consulted, when the citizens of the country have not had an input? This is not a canteen at a school, where the head and Board or Ministry can decide. This is an $800 million facility, the only major one, for the country. I am not saying that a referendum is necessary, but certainly town hall meetings and a public panel (we so love commissions and panels) is actually relevant here. Can we see a preliminary report, that demonstrates why the site is suitable as agreed by Government, Town Planning, doctors, the QEH administration?
The directors of Warren Healthcare Complex were ‘commended’ by Minister of Health Donville Inniss at its launch earlier this year. In his address he was quoted: “…the state cannot provide all services to all residents and hence it is my considered opinion that we must encourage the private sector to provide services which may or may not be provided in the public sector…”. The report details the players who formed the partnership to make the Warren Healthcare Complex a reality. Although it is not mentioned in the report quoted, BU understands that Peter Harris, one of the principals of CGI – is Chairman of the recently opened Warrens medical facility. The truth be told BU welcomes entrepreneurship wherever it rears it head but we have to be vigilant!
BU has been keeping an eye on how ownership of the private healthcare sector in Barbados has been taking form. Not many Barbadians are aware that then Minister of Health Jerome Walcott bought a 20% stake in Diagnostic Radiology, a company owned by the emerging deep pocket Peter Harris. Of course Walcott has a ‘front man’ who sits on the Board of Directors to represent his interest! Peter Harris we understand owns Diagnostic Radiology Inc; Teleradiology Inc; Emergency Room Inc; MRI Services Inc all key players in the healthcare sector.
To date BU has not been able to uncover any evidence which gives Minister Inniss beneficial ownership in any of the private healthcare facilities in Barbados. This includes The Sparman Clinic. What we have become a little uncomfortable about is the high number of government radiology requests which originate from the QEH and polyclinics which find their way into the private healthcare system. BU readers should recall Dr. Richard Ismael’s concern about Dr. Alfred Sparman allegedly being allowed to poach patients from the QEH. As citizens we have to begin to connect the dots. We are suppose to be an educated people.
Did I hear somewhere that come 2015…70% of Barbadians will be obese? Not good news at all considering our endless opportunities and open spaces to exercise. While net surfing I came across tasty tit bits and truffles on fat boygirl syndrome…
WE ARE BEING ENCOURAGED……its a conspiracy!!!
There is an alternative theory, one that has also been around for decades but that the establishment has largely ignored. This theory implicates specific foods—refined sugars and grains—because of their effect on the hormone insulin, which regulates fat accumulation. If this hormonal-defect hypothesis is true, not all calories are created equal, as the conventional wisdom holds. And if it is true, the problem is not only controlling our impulses, but also changing the entire American food economy and rewriting our beliefs about what constitutes a healthy diet.
We are hearing too many cases of persons (old and young) who use drugs on the Barbados Drugs Formulary and reporting the medication’s ineffectiveness. Many times on the call in programs, persons relate their experiences with these so called “cheaper equals” generic drugs placed on the formulary, as alternatives to the original brand name drugs. Two weeks ago, on the CBC Sunday program…Of People and Places, Minister of Health Donville Inniss was most pleased to inform the viewing public of the $12 Million his Ministry has saved, since the implementation of a program of cost saving measures,including substituting of brand name drugs with their cheaper generic.
The question must be asked, savings at what social cost and long term cost Mr. Minister? Savings at the expense of good healthcare to the county’s citizens? How do we measure such savings anyway? How do you place a price on the cost of a life?
The government has recently announced a plan to spend Bds$800m on building a new hospital. But, like most things it has done since unexpectedly coming to power, it is in danger of putting the horse before the cart.
In principle, as many of you would have known, I am all in favour of a stimulus to keep the economy moving, in fact I am on record as calling for the central bank to print Bds$1bn to feed in to the economy. I believe that this would allow the disgraceful case of Al Barrack to be settled by allowing the businessman a central bank drawdown – of about $250000 a month – better that than nothing.
The only real danger from this liquidity is inflationary, and this can be managed. In any case, it is an issue that should be publicly debated by the central bank, the minister of finance and interested parties. Typically, all we get is silence.
Have just returned from The Bahamas where I delivered a presentation on the future of culinary tourism…so I was very pleased to see all the above comments re food except for alien’s own. Sir or Madam – this is a blog about food not about sexual food but real food, the kind one puts into one’s stomach through the mouth – how black and white sex gets into here is beyond me…but I guess some minds just are able to turn everything into a barrage against whites because of historical facts whether they were good, bad or ugly (and they were all but it is past and these sexual unions have produced a wonderful colourful people of all hues, some who eat healthy food and others that open their mouths and immediately show what their stomachs are filled with so that the brain is never in gear with today’s life but seems to have been left to fry in the dirty oil of history. Whilst we should not forget, we should be happy we are now gorgeous Caribbean people with great soul food, and turn our thoughts positively about that! To each his own sadness I guess.)
Yes! Fast Food is not cheap. Yes! Fast food is unhealthy. This cry has been going out now for a very long time. But the fast food business is booming and will continue to do so because we are a lazy lot. And yes! what we do not realize is that Fast Food is also ‘addictive’. And yes! Fast Food can cause us to spend more with the doctor (they are happy…has anyone seen a poor doctor ’bout hey?).
Barbadian expectations were raised when the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) switched from being a department of government in 2002 to being run by a statutory board. We were convinced by the then government that the autonomy of a board was just what the doctor ordered for the QEH.
Successive governments have had to battle many challenges when asked to manage our premiere health institution. To read the full-page ad which was placed by BAMP in the weekend newspapers detailing yet another conflict with the Board of the QEH would not have registered on the cognitive index of the vast majority of Barbadians. We have come to expect it. One is left to wonder why the industrial relations climate at the QEH always seem to ring of a discordant note.
Based on what BU has observed over the years the problems at the QEH are many and solutions difficult. The question which has to be asked is whether healthcare delivery is now being compromised as a result of unresolved issues between doctors and Board which have been outstanding for too long. BU’s sense is that there is a hardening of positions at the QEH. According to our sources the junior doctors especially are being asked to work extremely long hours which means there is no work life balance and a 12 hour day is not uncommon. A spirit of cooperation which was part of a now distant culture has reversed to the detriment of the patient. As if this isn’t enough some in the know believe the quality of Interns entering the QEH in recent times is inferior compared to that of old.
Barbados has always prided itself on its standard of healthcare delivery, the unsettled industrial climate at the QEH over time is beginning to undermine it all.
There was a time, not too long ago, when the only worry a couple wishing to be ‘amorous’ thought about was contracting the Clap. Of the STDs feared, gonorrhoea and syphilis were at the top of the list. Then the big H and A came along and STDs were not that big a deal.
If one is to to judge based on a recent report, STDs is on the march in the USA forcing the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) to describe “the millions of new cases annually as a hidden epidemic”. Coincidentally our own Dame Billie Miller recently publicised her concern about STDs affecting Barbados and the region: “Gonorrhoea, syphilis and many other sexually transmitted diseases have been at epidemic status in our region for generations. We like to pretend it is not so. It still upsets me that sexually transmitted diseases in Barbados are not notifiable diseases”.
If HIV and AIDS do not get you there is always The Clap.
Recently the Barbados government trumpeted the appointment of Dr. Trevor Hassell who is the new Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases Czar, the official title conferred is Special Envoy for Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases (CNCDs) in Barbados.
It is no secret Barbados has been struggling to curb the rising number of Barbadians afflicted with CNCDs. BU despite the preponderance of evidence remains optimistic that Dr. Hassell’s appointment in addition to the focus it will bring on CNCDs will yield positive results. If we can compare against the success of Dr. Carol Jacobs who was appointed Czar of HIV and AIDS fifteen years ago, the jury is still out on whether Barbados has been successful in significantly curbing HIV/AIDS penetration.
The sad reality however is that the growing number of Barbadians suffering from CNCDs is probably linked to lifestyle behaviour which is a global trend. There is a media report which suggests: “the number of adults who have been diagnosed with diabetes worldwide has more than doubled since 1980 to 347 million, a far larger number than previously thought, a new study has found.” Diabetes is just one of many CNCDs which is giving cause for concern for a few in Barbados. It is a problem which continues to strike at the national purse given our ‘free’ healthcare policy.
Some in the BU family have argued over the years a study should be undertaken on the effect administering vaccines in Barbados is having on the population. In the absence of hard data the popular argument will become the overriding one, that is, without vaccines many diseases would have taken root and threatened the health of the nation.
The latest controversy in Barbados is about the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) running low on cancer treatment drugs and local drug suppliers inability to respond in a timely manner to purchase orders. The CEO of the Queen Elizabeth Dexter James was interviewed in the media on Wednesday about the matter and he was very terse in his condemnation of the Barbados Drug Service as the agency responsible for supplying drugs to the QEH in a timely manner. To be expected they are those who have taken the opportunity to make political mileage out of the issue.
It seems the only hospital in the world that did not know of a cancer drug shortage was the QEH given Dr. James publicly stated position. The 12 cancer suffering patients who need the drugs in question should not have to listen to James pointing fingers at the Barbados Drug Service. Dr. Dexter James should have been aware there is a cancer drug shortage on the world market. Here is an extract from CBC Canada website:
“Cancer drug shortages are forcing Canadian hospitals to scrounge for medication to avoid delaying treatment, CBC News has learned. For weeks, hospitals and pharmacists across Canada and in the U.S. have struggled to cope with spot shortages for about five chemotherapy drugs. Many of the medications are decades-old, highly toxic cancer drugs that kill dividing cancer cells and are mainstays of cancer treatment.
What has been interesting to observe has been the reporting by local media about the cancer drug shortage which has had the affect of stoking an existing debate about changes to the drug service. cbc.ca”
Senator Francis Chandler was quoted in the media recently that Barbadians seem to seek comfort in being controversial nowadays. Here is another example of it.
CANNABIS CULTURE – What if Cannabis Cured Cancer? CC presents an interview with Len Richmond, director of a new documentary film about how science is showing that compounds in cannabis attack cancer while protecting healthier cells.
It is one thing to kill a cancer cell, but the real question wracking science’s collective brain is: can you survive the treatment?
This is the central concern regarding how we approach cancer, the plague of modern times. Len Richmond’s documentary What if Cannabis Cured Cancer, narrated by Emmy award-winning actor Peter Coyote, is a well-researched account of the chemical benefits of the cannabis plant. Featuring interviews with a multitude of doctors and researchers across the world, the film explains how certain compounds in cannabis, including THC, attack only cancer cells while actually protecting healthier ones. And here is the real kicker: with incredible results! However, its healing effects are not limited to just cancer. Cannabis contains compounds that work holistically with the entire human body on such conditions as epilepsy, bipolar disorder, glaucoma, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, neuropathic pain, depression, leukemia, and more.
The documentary also outlines the misinformation campaign by both government and media as to the ill effects of cannabis on users. For instance, it is an eyebrow-raising revelation that not a single recorded death has ever been attributed to cannabis, while it remains a Schedule I drug – along with heroin and meth – under the Controlled Substances Act.
But it’s not just the plant that’s having a tough time in the world. Len Richmond has tried earnestly to get the medical community to be involved in the amazing amount of research he’s uncovered in his film:
I refer to what Dr. Henrick Ellis, Chairman of the National HIV AIDS Commission is reported to have said in the local media. I agree with him 110%. Barbadians or anyone else for that matter who turn their noses towards those suffering from HIV and AIDS need to first think long and hard about it. What was done when same sex relationships were being made public? It is not unusual for Gays and Lesbians walking around holding hands and even expressing affection towards each other. People in high office and in the church were involved. Now that we are where we are why act as if these people are no longer human-beings if you claim to be CHRISTIANS which means CHRIST FOLLOWERS. You have to practice FORGIVENESS. HIV and AIDS isn’t something that you are going to get from a conversation or being touched by someone having the virus.
Educate yourselves about the problem and show more forgiveness, concern and love towards these people who are infected. If you believe in GOD as you claim, GOD dwells in all his creations. People who have the virus are all a part of GOD. The bible teaches us to forgive and pardon those who have done us wrong. People who have the virus have done you no wrong. The wrong has been done, they did it to themselves. If it was a family member would you not still have love in your heart for them? Would you not still care for them? If your answers to the questions isn’t yes, you never loved them in the first place; All of us have made bad choices at some point and time in our lives. If we were all cast aside because of what we have done then many in Barbados and the whole World would be in big trouble.
The deed has been done. The mistake has been made. The problem isn’t going to go away for any of these people who once meant something to you. I am sure that each day of their lives they are dying inside from the choices that they made. This my brothers and sisters of Barbados and the World isn’t going to just go away because you turn your head and your hearts away from the people who need you now more than ever. Help them to live the remaining time that GOD has given them on this Earth in the knowledge that you care.
BU has been concerned for some time about the quality of food we import. The import bill is reported to be approaching one billion dollars. Escalating use of preservatives and hormones by so-called respectable manufacturers has legitimize many products we eat. The most educated among us are too ignorant to question the quality of food on supermarket shelves in Barbados. While we have focused on the shady behaviour of Monsanto, the world’s largest supplier of genetically modified foods, the question we need to have answered is whether local and regional suppliers have been engaging in unwholesome manufacturing practices.
Robert’s Manufacturing controls the animal feed market in Barbados which makes it an obvious target. Can the management of Roberts Manufacturing confirm if its animal feed were to be tested would it be found free of unacceptable levels of growth hormones and antibiotics?
It seems a commonsense position that as human beings we should place a heavy priority on what we eat. We should eat good food to ensure healthy minds bodies. On those occasions when we fall sick we should feel confident that drugs prescribed can be trusted. More and more the entry of genetically modified foods to the market with Monsanto being a big supplier has become a concern. On the other side of the coin we have Big Pharma which uses a profit motive to manufacturer drugs.
Sometimes we ask ourselves if local authorities are aware of the threats pose by questionable food and drug manufacturing practices.
Pharmaceutical terror began in the early half of the 20th century. “The petrochemical giants organised a coup on the medical research establishments, hospitals and universities. The Rockefellers did this by sponsoring research and donating monetary gifts to US universities and medical schools where research was drug based and further extended this policy to foreign medical establishments via their International Education Board. Those who were not drug based were refused funding and were soon dissolved in favour of the more lucrative pharmaceutical-based projects.”
“In 1939, the ‘Drug Trust’ Alliance was formed by the Rockefeller Empire in concert with I.G. Farben (an Agent of the Rothschild Dynasty). After the war, I.G. Farben was dismantled but later emerged in the many guises of the companies with whom they had signed cartel agreements.”
“These companies include: Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), Borden, Carnation, General Mills, M.W. Kellogg Co., Nestle, Pet Milk, Squibb and Sons, Bristol Meyers, Whitehall laboratories, Procter and Gamble, Roche, Hoechst and BAYER & Co. (two extant pharmaceutical companies who initially employed convicted war criminals Friedrich Jaehne and Fritz ter Meer as board chairmen). The Rockefellers Empire – in tandem with the Chase Manhattan Bank now owns over half of the USA’s pharmaceutical interests and is the largest drug manufacturing combine in the world. Since the war the drug industry has steadily netted an ever increasing profit from sales of drugs to become the second largest manufacturing industry in the world next to the arms industry (also owned by the self same Elite agencies).”
Dr Ishmael, as a senior member of the Consultant staff of over 30 years, is held in high regard by the Ministry and Board of Management of the QEH.
The decision to suspend Dr Ishmael was done only after consultation with a legal and industrial relations expert and in the best interest of both Dr Ishmael and the QEH. It is consistent with current practice where a serious breach of the Staff Rules is alleged. A full investigation into the matter is being conducted.
It is important to note that in June the Board was advised in writing by Dr Ishmael that he could not guarantee that he would be renewing his contract which expired in April of this year. Notwithstanding, the Board delayed advertising the post of paediatric cardiologist, given Dr Ishmael’s standing at the QEH and also to accommodate the personal and professional commitments that took him away from his duties for considerable periods. Notwithstanding these prolonged absences, the Board received no correspondence from the Department of Paediatrics on the “increased risk of adverse outcomes” similar to the one issued after only one day of suspension.
What is the definitive policy action that the Government has in place for our Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH)? This question remains unanswered in my humble opinion at today’s date. Let me explain to you why this is the case.
Before the DLP came to office in January 2008, then Opposition MP Richard Sealy proposed the much talked about Rescue QEH Plan. The intimate details of this plan were never presented but it seemed like a catchy phrase or buzzword to throw at us the tax-paying public that definitive and critical action would be taken to improve the QEH.
After the change of government in January 2008, the then newly appointed Minister of Health Dr. David Estwick publicly announced that a new hospital would be constructed and he cited amongst other reasons, the limited room for expansion of the QEH, its position in a low lying flood plain and the cost involved in revitalizing an aging plant as opposed to constructing a new one amongst others. Within two weeks of Dr. Estwick’s pronouncement, Prime Minister David Thompson refuted this saying that no decision had been taken as yet and that a decision would have to be made by his Cabinet as to whether to build a new (and second) hospital or to revitalize the QEH thus pouring cold water on Dr. Estwick’s earlier statement.
Scientists at the University of Oxford conducted a trial on 168 people and found that taking high doses of three vitamin B supplements every day reduced brain shrinkage associated with dementia by up to 53 per cent – full article
This is good news for the aged population in Barbados. Memory loss and dementia are ailments which have been the scourge of the elderly for years. The elderly is a vulnerable group as it is but for it to be compounded with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia is a travesty. Often times our elderly have worked their whole lives only to have some depraved person take advantage of them in their retirement years.
There has been a clamour by some if not many that Prime Minister David Thompson should have been obligated by law to reveal the nature of his illness a long time ago. Unfortunately the Prime Minister had to return to New York this weekend to undergo an emergency procedure. Our prayers are with him and his family at this time. It seems that the recent medical complication has driven the Prime Minister to go public with details about the state of his health. In a telephone radio linkup this week from New York Prime Minister Thompson advised he has authorized Dr. Ishmael (his personal physician) to provide Barbadians with details about his condition.
Commonsense suggests that any individual who assumes the office of Prime Minister must expect to share personal information with the public when the situation demands it. There is a point when the need for a public official like the Prime Minister to divulge personal information intersects with what is required in the national interest. The question therefore is – should the Prime Minister when he was first diagnosed with his sickness been legally obligated to disclose publicly the nature of his illness?
The drug Avandia which is a Type II diabetes drug is raising concerns in medical quarters in the United Kingdom and the USA – see report. The drug is under review across Europe having been linked to a raised risk of heart attacks and heart failure. The respected UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s (MHRA) has recommended suspension of the drug but it alarmingly remains available to the public in the United Kingdom. To be expected the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline who manufacturers Avandia insists the drug is safe if properly monitored, as its research programme has shown it to be ‘safe and effective when it is prescribed appropriately. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is expected to announce later this month whether Avandia should be restricted, or withdrawn completely. In the USA similar concerns are being voiced.
Although the drug is not widely stocked by pharmacies in Barbados there is limited use and we hope the health authorities are following the Avandia story.
“I am sorry from the bottom of my heart. No way did I want my partner to be infected.”
The above statement read in court on behalf of the accused, sums up the predicament of the beautiful international singer Nadja Benaissa of the German pop band No Angels. Who is charged with grievous bodily harm and attempted aggravated assault. Under German law failing to disclose being HIV-positive before having unprotected sex is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The tariff can be extended to life if the person goes on to die of AIDS.
The allegations are that Nadja Benaissa had unprotected sex with a 34 year old male partner – unidentified because of court procedure – knowing that she was HIV-positive and did not inform him. In a highly charged moment the unidentified male addressed the accused and said: “You have unleashed a lot of misery into the world.”
The female No Angels group has sold over 5 million records and is one of Germany’s most successful and idolised bands.