Five year policy to meet health challenges

| 22/02/2013

IMG-20130222-00483.jpg(CNS): The health minister has launched a new national health policy, which he said is designed to cover the challenges facing government in the provision of affordable health care over the next five years, after almost four years in office and only months away from a general election. Following the launch of the education policy by his fellow Cabinet minister last week, it was Mark Scotland’s turn to hand out a policy document at Thursday’s press briefing. He said it would chart the course for government to manage mounting costs and increases in non-communicable diseases plaguing the community up until 2017. Scotland described it as the country’s first overarching guide outlining his vision, goals and objectives.

He said it was put together with the assistance of the World Health Organization and focuses heavily on the increasing problems in Cayman of diseases caused mainly by behaviour, such as heart problems, diabetes and obesity, a growing epidemic in Cayman in the face of rising healthcare costs.

The document reveals that high blood pressure is the top diagnosis in Cayman, with the HSA treating well over 3000 patients. Diabetes is the second most common health problem and mental health issues the third, though the country still does not have a proper treatment centre for people suffering with mental health conditions.

Scotland said Cayman had made some strides in healthcare over the last few years but many challenges remained and he said the plan would help government measure and monitor performance to ensure progress continued to be made in reducing illness and costs.

The press also heard that the Cayman government had talked to the UK about partnering with the British health services to help reduce the cost of medicines by having the UK purchase on behalf of the territory and to see if treating Caymanian patients who need overseas care inthe UK rather than the US.

In addition Scotland revealed that a specialist screening clinic would be held this weekend to test local athletes for their risk of sudden cardiac arrest. Following the death of a young Caymanian footballer, Gerome “Bird” Graham, recently as a result of a sudden heart attack on the field, the minister said the health authorities were partnering with heart specialists from the private health sector and US experts to offer free screening to teenage athletes.

While Scotland said there were no guarantees that such screening was 100% successful, it could detect some warning signals in high performance athletes and at least give some reassurance that they are fit to play or compete.

Graham is not the first young athlete to fall victim to the syndrome and on the international stage basketball player Reggie Lewis and Italian footballer Piermario Morosini also died as a result of a sudden cardiac arrest. 

“It can happen at any time, any place, to anyone and without warning,” the health minister said, noting that an estimated 300 high school athletes die each year at sporting events in the US.

Healthcare experts led by a board-certified cardiologist with expertise in evaluating athletes will staff the clinic, which will be screening local athletes who have been invited to attend at the Heart Health Centre.

See the new health policy here.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Fast food joints located strategically near shools must  take some of the blame. They get young children into bad food habits, and their health is ruined for life. We should tax high-sugar sodas as we do alcohol, and ban hydrogenated cooking fats in all restaurants, just as as they've  done in N.Y.  The costs of obesity, diabetes and heart disease are forever increasing, and are borne by all of us. We can't afford it, and our children are being betrayed by those who have the power to do something about it but lack the political will. (So far.)

    • Anonymous says:

      Everyone else is to blame when you can't control yourself.  Eat fast foodin moderation if at all.  Problem solved.

    • Anonymous says:

      How about we start taking responsibility for we put in our mouths and start teaching our children proper eating habits? I know, it’s a novel concept and one that is sure to meet with resistance, but stop blaming the Government and the ‘big bad corporations’ for every damn thing wrong in your life.

      Start taking responsibility for your life.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Mr Scotland I for one will not vote for you . I for one know that Bodden Town people won't be voting for you neither . You have not done anything for the people of Bodden Town. How you think is beyond me. The young athletes are not a high risk group in the world about health problems. 

    What about the group that is causing the premiums to go up? What have you said or done about that group? Your answer is to go to a gym or take a walk? People have issues , a lot of time its mental (stress, depression, grieving, etc). As a minister of Health you were never qualified to take this ministry. You should have been a minister of roads. 

    Mental health has reached over five thousand people and climbing. Everyday I see people looking into garbages for food or begging people including tourists for money to buy a beer. There is a man who is riding a bike who gets money from Gov't  that has no tire he's riding on the rim. There is another who is searching for cigarettes underneath tables at cafe del sol. There are people everyday smoking across the street from the Legislative Assembly at Cafe del Sol dumping their cigarettes on the ground. Is your solution to have one police officer for the whole of GT? Even during cruise ship days. Cause the only ONE I see is Miguel. No wonder business people like Mr. Dart's town . IT COULDN'T HAPPEN THERE. He's got security. We got 366 or more police officers and I don't see 10 police officers walking around GT. I see them catching speeders. What are the rest doing about preventative crime? Why aren't they walking the beat? Not even on a bicycle? IT WILL KEEP THEM HEALTHY. I'm just not seeing this picture that athletes need to do this screening when a friend of mine wouldn't have found his cancer. He found it through an internal screening (MRI, cat scanning). So would that be a better screening then blood test ? 

    So Mr scotland what about the rest of the people who now can't afford to buy the inflated insurance premium ? Can they get some free screening ? I'm not talking about once a year I'm talkng about twice a year for heart , cancer, diabetes ?


    • Anonymous says:

      How can you used the term Bodden Town people; I am a Bodden Town person and you are sure not speaking for me and the 5 eligible voters in my household.  Speak for yourself.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes of course you're right . Accept my appologizes his families and friends would obviously vote for him . He would of made them happy and made sure they were onboard with his decisions about putting a dump without asking  landowners their views and bypassing their rights. I hope his family well and that they will always be healthy and never need any help from the health ministry in the future. God bless you and your family. 

  3. Anonymous says:

    Is there any part of this plan that is going towards improving our Emergency Services? Adding another Accident & Emergency room? Increasing funding for our emergent care facilities? Purchasing another ambulance and increasing the number of EMT's and Paramedics we have?

    Seems to me that with all the robberies/accidents/assaults on island these areas should be foremost in the minds of those attempting to revamp our health care system.

  4. Anonymous says:

    A comprehensive Strategic Plan for Health was produced in the 1990s under the Ministry of Anthony Eden. It covered just about everything this new "never done before' plan of Mr Scotland covers but of course it's election time so we must say that this is new etc etc.. I pity the health professionals. They come up with the same sensible evidence based stuff every time they are asked to -including Mr Eden's plan -then they have to cope with a new minister who thinks he knows what has to be done and it's all "lets go again". God help us if Ezzard is the next health minister because it is back to the dictatorial chaos he imposed in the early 1990s. He can't help it. He just thinks he knows it all.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ezzard is one of the few Caymanians qualified in Healthcare administration and Pharmacy certainly he know "it all" in comparison to Mark Scotland and Anthony Eden, remember he won an award from PAHO/World Health for his health plan.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Is HSA or government paying these private doctors for the screening? There is no free lunch!

  6. Young Man says:

    Good job. Let's just hope this won't be put up on a shelf somewhere and forgotten about. I've seen so many programs launched only to fall flat afterwards, or at best become nothing more than a monthly meeting to give an update on progress, only to learn that no progress has been made.

    Have you figured out what specific metrics you'll use to measure progress? Are doctors all over the island on board with this policy and ready to help curb the risk factors? Are other allied health professionals familiar with the policy so that all are on the same page and working towards the same goal? Have you laised with health insurance companies and struck a deal with them tieing the reduction of certain risk factors to lower premiums? I really hope that's what 5.2 is in your 'Corresponding Objectives for the Strategic Directions.'

    I could go on, but I won't. I just hope there is persistance in this 5 year strategic plan. Because if not, 5 years from now we will continue to see high-risk obese locals with diabetes and the like everwhere, more so than we do now, which would lead to higher healthcare costs and probably a CayHealth version 2.0. 


    • Anonymous says:

      While I appreciate yor questions which need to be asked no amount of intervention by the medical community can curb risk factors if people do not care enough about themselves to curb their own risk factors.

      Obesity is the primary contributor to what people are being treated for such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes and yes mental health issues.

      Personally I am a bit radical I think it is child abuse to allow a young child to become obese. Parents need to teach their children healthy lifestyle habits from the get go so we don’t wind up with yet another generation of obese adults. And while the schools can help it is up to the parents to do this.

      It is disgusting that most of our leaders are not only obese but morbidly obese even after some have undergone radical surgical options because they wanted a quick fix to being fat. Come on Cayman adults lead by example put down yor forks and get out and exercise and you will see a dramatic decrease in healthcare costs.

  7. Anonymous says:

    And what about a more permanent ward/wing/facility for those of our population suffering from long-term mental health issues? This is one of the most prominent things our island is severely lacking.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Is that your best sales pitch mark Scotland to be re-elected?


    • Anonymous says:

      If you know the hard work dedication and committment that went into creating this plan you would be appreciative instead of looking at everything as a re-election pitch – but as the old saying "empty barrels make the most noise".


    • Anonymous says:

      He says what he is told to say.