Minister urges survey input

| 26/06/2012

_DEW3263-web.jpg(CNS): The health minister has vehemently denied any political agenda or any other sinister ulterior motives on the critical health survey currently being undertaken by the HSA officials. Mark Scotland told CNS Monday that the UDP is not attempting to get into people’s homes for political manipulation as some commenters have suggested but it is to get essential data about the health of the nation and to enable his ministry to focus limited resources where they are most needed. Cayman has a paucity of information regarding non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and heart disease and needs to know much more about what it is that’s making people sick.

Speaking at a press briefing on Monday morning, Chief Officer in the ministry Jennifer Ahearn said that the officials who are undertaking the survey, which selects households and those to be interviewed in each household randomly, had met with some problems. As well as people not being home they have also met with refusals and as a result it was taking longer to get the critical information needed. However, she said, the enumerators are pressing on and she urged people to take part as the information was confidential.

“If you are selected please do participate; the results are completely confidential,” Ahearn assured the public. “I know there is some concern and speculation about what we are going to do with the data, who we are going to give it to, and whether it can be identified as being your data. You will get the information for you, but once aggregated it will be aggregated confidentially.”

She explained it was very important that the ministry collected the information so it could target its ever dwindling resources for a healthier nation.

The first ever health survey of its kind, which began in May will continue through into July, and although some preliminary results and indictors will be revealed at this year’s National Health Conference, the full results are not expected until November.

The health statistics will be used for planning and implementing health policy and the minister has said Cayman cannot afford to neglect the growing epidemic of chronic diseases as he criticised comments made in the CNS Forum that he said were raising unfounded suspicions of the survey. He said that healthcare was never an area that had been politicised and the survey was critically important.

He said that measuring the risk factor data was crucial for predicting the future burden of chronic disease on the local population and to identifying potential interventions to reduce that burden.

Last week, the minister also presented the completed National Health Policy and Strategic Plan for the Cayman Islands to stakeholders, which will now be presented to Cabinet before being tabled in the Legislative Assembly and becoming a public document.

“While there are many good things about healthcare in the Cayman Islands, we are facing many challenges, including increasing costs and the need to ensure equitable access,” Scotland said. “The National Health Policy and Strategic Plan will provide the much-needed over-arching policy framework to help us address the challenges that we face, as well as helping us to capitalise on the opportunities that we have to enhance and promote health and well-being for all in the Cayman Islands. I want to thank all those who contributed their knowledge and expertise to come up with this document.”

He described it as a simple and straightforward document that gives a clear-cut vision and objectives for health with a focus on preventative and pro-active healthcare.

“People must take more responsibility for their health and I believe this policy lays thegroundwork for a culture of pro-active healthcare where we move away from sick-care to wellness care,” he added.

See more details about health at: www.ministry of nation

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  1. anonymous says:

    If someone want s to come to my house and ask me questions how about it be n of our elected officials.  The UDP needs to get out and find outthat the people want. They do not consult with anyone unless it is someone with lots of money that help them buy votes.  Maybe they should do what they are elected to do and represent the people for a change.  That way they could earn votes and not have to buy them.

    Until they are willing to listen to the people they can stop sending there question askers around to my house.

  2. Later Ron says:

    This seems a hopeless idea. Canvass a sample of households to try and assess the state of health and various diseases in Cayman? Who came up with that ? Of course if someone knocks on your door and starts asking about personal health issues hardly anyone is likely to want to co-operate. Not a chance of getting any useful data so give up now. Ask for the information from the Hospital and the doctors surgeries. It can be passed across in an anonymous fashion with names deleted and only districts and age groups allowed rather than address and date of birth. 

    Or is it the case the Hospital hasn't got a clue about any of this because it doesn't maintain records properly?

  3. Anonymous says:

    So very much muddy water has been under the bridge since the last elections that the people of this country have justifiably lost all trust in their gowerment, and their gowerment is going to have a very hard time regaining that trust, regardless of however genuine their motives may be. You want to know what causes heart disease folks? Google 'heart disease' for Christs' sake. You'll spend a week learning about what causes heart disease, and you'll save the country hundreds of thousands of dollars in NOT doing a survey, and you'll not have to interrupt thousands of family dinners, and you'll not have thousands of scared people peeping out their windows wondering who on earth is knocking unnanounced at their door at this time of evening in a country plagued by daily increasing crime, and you'll not be accused of having sinister motives, and you'll learn that it is stress caused by trying to make ends meet in a country with a gowerment like the one we have that causes heart disease, folks. Every single one of the more intelligent posts here are expressing concern about the REAL motives of this exercise and it is my firm opinion that their concerns are justified. And if they are not justified there is no one on earth to blame but the UDP gowerment.       

  4. Anonymous says:

    There is always political agenda and other sinister ulterior motives, when dealing with these UDP jokers. Cayman is doomed.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why do you all condemn everything that some of these Politicians do? They cant be all wrong!! Even their spouses work . Two of the most supportive wives is Ms Kerry and Mr Marks wife. Some folks was under water in the last rain that we had and I could not reach the number that I had for one of our Ministers and I called Mr Marks wife who was so sympathetic and she assured me that she would get on to one of our George Town Representatives which she so reliably did. Opposition has its right place but in the process we can destroy our Country.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Health surveys are unreliable.


    This survey is a waste of money.


    If you want more reliable information, get it from the doctors (with no names involved) and the hospital.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The Minister of Health should research the huge number of studies on obesity, diabetes, and hypertension already carried out by the world's leading medical researchers at the world's leading research centres.  The information on these illnesses is there already.  Oh, and by the way, here's what the population needs to do to stay healthy:

    1. Exercise every day for 30-mins.  A brisk walk is fine.

    2. Eat a healthy, calorie-controlled diet to keep body weight average.

    3. Stop smoking.

    4. Alcohol in moderation

    5. Avoid stress.

    6. Have a proper medical check up with your internist every year .

    7. If you have an illness, listen to the advice of your doctor and take your medications as prescribed.

    There you go, EASY!  If everyone did these seven things we'd have a healthy nation.  No need for a silly survey, and no need to thank me for saving the country hundreds of thousnads of dollars, Mr. Scotland!  🙂

    • Anonymous says:

      smoking bad !


      alcohol good in moderation ?


       avoid stress ! good luck with that one ! 


      makes sense  Not !

      • noname says:

        As we protest cherry picking habits of the insurance giants, will someone sell these people's information under the table?, not sure how secure it will be for many organizations and entities promise to hold your information as "safe" only to sell you and your information to the highest bidder.

        The insurance company could be lobying in the shadows to get a hold of this info. It owuld be a piece of cake for them.

        Ya think?

        • noname says:

          Lets hope none of these workers is employed part time or fulltime for the insurance companies!

          (LOL) whereas they now cherry pick us, they'll run over us with all our information in their coffers!  God help those who have pre-existing conditions in hope of getting coverage! It'll never happen 'cause government won't pass or enforce a law to force them to cover everyone.

          It would work better if Government had passed the insurance law, inforced it, with regulations attached and then launch this survey venture!  


  7. Anonymous says:

    I have no political axe to grind.


    But the planning & management of such a survey surely needs to be improved.  A woman knocked on my door before 9pm the other evening.  Once I peeped thru the window and felt sure there was no problem, I opened the door.  The woman advised she was doing a survey for the HSA and my house had been chosen.

    There had been no prior advice to me about this visit, and she offered no proof of identification.  Yet she said she wanted me to answer questions about the HSA.  And I assume she wanted to enter the building and take a seat to do so.

    Having never met her before, and had no proof who she was or what she really wanted, and the fact that it was dark and late in a quiet area of town, I told her that she must be joking, trying to do a survey at that time, and I told her to go away (politely).

  8. Anonymous says:

    Doesn't take a genius to realise that people's poor diets are causing diabetes, cut out the fried food, soft drinks and other treats, it's cheaper to buy 2 litres of coke and bucket of chicken than it is to buy the equivalent weight in fruit and veg.


    Implement a "fat" tax on the fast food outlets and subsidise the cost of healthy food in the supermarkets, that would be the sensible approach.

  9. Truth Hurts says:

    I am confused. Please help me out here. Is the HSA not tasked with treating the illnesses of this island? So explain to the more feeble-minded such as me why they do not already have this information to hand on what sickness trends are and who is being treated for what. Ok, so some go to private doctors and the private hospitals, surely asking them would make more sense than strangers turning up on doorsteps demanding confidential and maybe sensitive medical information on random people. Oh and I would also add anyone should have the right to decline to participate if they so choose.

    • deepdiver says:


      I was one of those selected. I have only the following comments.

      I was away (overseas) when they first arrived and they left a note, and a date they would return.

      They came on said date and I was busy – but we set up a time for the interview.

      they returned at the apponted time and we conducted a brief and very professional

      health questionaire (very basic & very simple). NONE of the questions were of a political

      nature. The two people who conducted the survey were very pleasent and friendly and asked

      NO questions that were personally invasive or remotely political.

      I follow these forums, but am a loss as to explain some of the comments posted so far…

      I, personally, as a well educated local professional am at a loss as to how this thing

      has been turned sideways.

      We have MANY things to rail against – I don't feel this is one of them.


      • noname says:

        Mark Scotland why is it the HSA workers are not wearing a badge/ID around their necks or on their person? This is really bad performance and bad impression. It makes one suspicious as to the real intention with this reckless unprofessional approach in our communities.

        So this is an easy way for a crime to be committed against an honest or innocent law abiding citizen!

        The people doing the survey are obviously untrained. A  sample of the government ID should be put out and properly vetted on all media including TV outlets so that people can identify exactly what the HSA workers ID look like, recognize them, from would be  imposters. This is important.

        This is poor performance is bound to be unsuccessful in a high crime society such as ours with so many unsolved crimes and poor police service. Good grief, this is so dangerous!,  Someone could do an easy home invasion if what the lady says is true. A 9pm visit? Are you kidding me. Mark Scotland you better talk to your people!


        Its best to hold a HSA  (Health Fair) or  workshop  for a couple of week ends for an entire month or weeks in the different districts, bring food and games for the children and families. This is more freindly and would be more successful.This is how a health fair is conducted, not this strange side line or back door  approach.

        This kind of approach is very unorthodox and not very appealing to people concerned about their privacy and their safety in a crime ridden society such as this one.

        I'd say its going to be a flop. Sorry but that's my humble prediction. The odds are against them.

        Wish them success but they have to change their strategy.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Some not so bright commenters here. That they would be attempting to get into people’s homes to politically manipulate them?  That is so funny and demonstrates that we will be going no where if we continue these speculations or conspiracies.  

  11. Anonymous says:

    This survey is highly suspect for a variety of reasons.

    It is entirely understandable that few are willing to let anything associated in any way with the UDP into their house – unless of course it comes in a very large box and can make ice cubes and keep beer cold.


  12. Anonymous says:

    I am in my 50"s and have never been approached by

    anyone doing all the survays (not just this one) they are always

    talking about, neither have anyone else in my area.

    They must just survay their friends/supporters.

    Just another pile of paper to collect dust and

    a total waste of our   m-o-n-e-y   $ $ $ $ $.

    Oh ya and we got none!!! 

  13. sarac says:

    Only extremists are concern about how the information of this survey, once gathered, will be used. They have went so far to closing doors in the surveyors faces. It just shows how Cayman has a desease called ignorance. Ms Ahearn has to repeatedly assurance the public that all the information received from the survey would be treated in a confidential manner. But despite all her pleas I think she is talking to political blockheads.

    • Anonymous says:

      My dear Sara,

      Your grammar and spelling are atrocious. I can only conclude that you are a Caymanian female in a position of great responsibility.

      You probably sit on all kinds of committees and boards and I can assure you, you have certainly not been chosen for your grasp of the issues facing the people of Cayman, rather the opposite.

      "Only extremists are concern…"

      What is that all about? Ignoring the poor grammar, you have tried to paint genuinely concerned, law-abiding people as extremists. What's next, calling them terrorists? Will you then advocate mandatory enforcement of your agenda?

      You are the extremist and people like you are a serious danger to the community. Come to my house asking your irrelevant, intrusive questions and you'll have the door closed in your face before you can say "Eastern Star"!

      • Anonymous says:

        "Your grammar and spelling are atrocious. I can only conclude that you are a Caymanian female in a position of great responsibility".

        Your second sentence is a complete non-sequitur from the first. Was it intended to be offensive to Caymanians generally? I agree with your position generally but when you go out of your way to make offensive comments it detracts from the value of your comments and gets people's backs up.    

  14. pat says:

    I must applaud Mark for doing a survey for health statistical reasons. There are alot of cancer rates and an increase in diabetes. We need to know the figures so we can do something about it and avoid a state of emergency. Keep up Mark, don't let them stop you from doing the right thing.

    • Anonymous says:

      Good heavens! The message board trolls are out today. This is the same poster who has a woeful command of the language and is obviously churning out pseudo-important reasons as to why we should submit to a health survey.

      Try a little harder, luv. Have your secretary do the next one. Mark, I suggest you refer this product of the Caymanian education system back to Rolston for some remedial work.

      Giggling myself silly at this.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Before Scotland and Ahearn go about their agenda of poking their noses in places where they do not belong and are not welcome, they can first contribute to the welfare of the nation by looking at:-

    1. The toxic effects of having those mosquito plane/vans spraying us.

    2. The toxic effects of the dump leaching into the North Sound, the water lens and stinking the air up 7 Mile and even South Sound these days.

    3. The food landing on our shores that has been genetically modified such as corn, soybean oil (which is getting into everything it seems) and heaven knows what else. Our unenlightened leadership does not have any fortitude to make decisions for the well-being of the country. If the US don't label GM food, then puppy dog Cayman Islands just follows along.

    4. The effects of the emissions from all those cars and even more so, that toxic place called CUC where they don't like to talk about cancer as one employee after the other is ravaged by the disease.

    5. Science no longer (how about that?) supports the addition of fluoride to water, but perhaps this hasn't filtered down to Cayman as yet. Do you think that Cayman farmers give our city water to their animals? Ask them.

    6. Unknown effects of vaccinations. I am sorry to blow the lid off here, but the end result of this entire agenda will be mandatory vaccinations for the entire population. No one minds taking good medicine, but if we are not sick, don't make us sick and then hawk your phony science at us. Gardasil anyone? Scotland has been shoving that down our throats and it has really hurt a lot of people.

    No Scotland and Ahearn, please. If you hold big, important titles, they come with big, important responsibilities and you are 100% accountable to those who pay your wages. That would be us. We do not pay you to impose devious control over us and snoop into our private lives, we pay you to open your eyes, use your education, engage the people and propose a plan of action where we all work together for the common good.

    • Dred says:

      How about Mr Scottland look at the effects of placing a dump full of polutants over a water table?

      Maybe he wants a before and after. OK. This is before. Go to Chernoble and scale it back a notch. There's your after.

      Mr. Scottland should be the last one to talk about being concern with anyones health when he is going willy nilly about moving a dump JUST BECAUSE DARTS WANTS IT MOVED.

      Baah humbug

  16. Resident who Trust the UDP says:

    Political manipulation?  You commenters are disgusting members of the PPM clan.
    The TRUTH is plain and simple… "to get essential data about the health of the nation and to enable Mark's ministry to focus limited resources where they are most needed." Any other hot-air is to call the minister a liar, which is very defaming. The Shetty deal was not make into a political issue until you guys made it so!
    Shetty is to receive concessions from government. That is how you make deals. You have to give something in order to get it back. Concessions are nothing more than encouraging medical tourism in Cayman, which will no doubt benefit Cayman. And that Shetty will hire only Indian staff, you guys very well know that that is rediculous and false. Where did you get that from? Ignorant people indeed. You commenters need to get your heads out of conspiracy theories and think about Cayman for change.  You continue to endorse Alden, well you will be in for a rude awakening when he cause us to go into another serious deficit.

  17. CHECHE says:

    Just in time for election season, bo bo.

  18. Anonymous says:

    This effort would have credibility if it was not introduced by the illegally elected and Mac croney, Minister Scotland.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps if Mr Scotland really represented his constituents, instead of bowing to the Premier's whims and ulterior motives all the time, people, in his district at least, might be more amenable to give input on this survey and other matters generally, but right now, we're all feeling like giving any input is a complete waste of time coz seemingly, nobody cares about what we think.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yup. All ears and no action (when you do finally manage to get to speak to them).  That's all we getting from our politicians these days.

  20. Anonymous says:

    So, Honourable Mr. Mark, When last has the air quality been professionally checked in the Hospital? By someone other than a Government Department, such as DEH?

    Rolston, When has the air quality last been checked in the Schools? Other than DEH? i heard that John Grey may have some issues? Teachers and students gettting sick?

    We can take care of our bodies, but our bodies cannot run on toxins? That poor guy, amonst others may have problems down the line………..Cancer/neurological/sexual/brain/heart lung etc……..

    See CNS story LInk;


  21. Anonymous says:

    No need to do a survey. If Mark wants to know what it is that's making people sick the answer is simple. UDP.


    Instead of working on a National Health Policy where the people will not cooperate, I suggest he dust off the Environmental Health Policy as I am sure the environment will be more than willing to work with him on its health.

    • Really says:

      10:25 are you talking about the Flu they caught from PPM 3 years ago.  I told them not to let PPM sneeze on them, now they got the PPM runny nose.  Children please learn to live to gether these are some bad days ahead with the world, not only Cayman.  

    • Stiffed-Necked Fool says:

      Try come off that stuff, man!

  22. Not Foo Fool says:

    Mckeeva is a master at preying on vulnerable circumstances of the old and the sick. He makes them believe that only he is looking out for them  and that any assistance they get from goverment is because of him.

    It is not far fetched at all that this is a politically calculated exercise. 

  23. Anonymous says:

    Clearly, the behavior inside certain parties and in that of the broader House, sickens the entire nation.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Well Mark, I would love to believe you…but you are UDP XXXXX.

    Also, although you claim that "… health care was never an area that had politicised and he survey was critically important."   this is not true.

    Your XXXX deal with Shetty politicised healthcare by:

    i.   giving Shetty a monopoly on medical tourism (our supposed third economic pillar),

    ii.  you introduced a 2-tier system of medical qualifications to help Shetty get Indian medical staff and which disadvantages Caymanians in the healthcare field; and

    iii. you introduced the cap on medical malpractice, again to benefit the developer Shetty

    So, I would love to trust your word that UDP wont misuse the data in this survey for other purposes, but you have shown you cannot be trusted. My mama always told me 'when somebody shows you who they really are, believe them' – a bit of advice that has held me in good all my life.

    You continue to endorse McKeeva's XXXXX, so you just as bad. 


    • IN BODDEN TOWN says:

      My friend 09:59, you have a very good reason for saying you want to believe Mark, and that is because you know Mark Scotland.  Come on my friend,do not judge the man because he is UDP.  I am expecting better than that from you.  I am expecting you to support the man you know for who he is, and it has nothing to do with his Team. That is not acceptable from you because I know you better than that.

      Think of how you can chat with your friend Mark.  He is really a nice guy.  My belief is that I refuse to say a man is Bad if I cannot back it up with something.  So to say, make good comments about your friend.   Remember voting is your Democratic right.  Do not look at the color of a person hair or the car they drive.  Support them because of your conversation with them, knowing that the person is a good person for the Job.  Mark is that person and we support him along with his collegue Dwayne Seymour.

    • Anonymous says:

      9.59  Your Mama was a wise and witty woman. As Borat would have said….."I like!"