NASSAU, The Bahamas – At his first Chief Medical Officer’s Year in Review Breakfast Meeting, Chief Medical Officer of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas Dr. Glen Beneby outlined what appears to be a structured, aggressive, comprehensive and “common sense” approach to the future direction of the public healthcare sector in The Bahamas that could close any perceived gaps between the provision of healthcare in The Bahamas at the public and private levels.
Addressing many of the country’s leading physicians, hospital and other facility administrators and nurses from both the public and private sectors, various stakeholders and members of the clergy at the meeting, October 8, at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Beneby’s plan covers key areas such as restructuring and re-engineering and financing, in addition to priority areas such as the stem cell industry, non-communicable diseases, and National Health Insurance. It also includes situation analysis and has taken into account potential human resources issues such as physician manpower – potential growth and shrinkages – and physician trends.
The plan also calls for the strengthening of linkages with partners/stakeholders (public/private/academia); setting clear goals (local and international); stronger research in order to make more evidence-based decisions, strategic planning and creative implementation, strengthened community participation (transparency and accountability), a holistic approach to a stronger, healthier Bahamas and establishing sustainable healthcare systems.
The Chief Medical Officer said the plan calls for all stakeholders from the public and private healthcare sectors to come together and work towards establishing the best health care system for the common good of each and every Bahamian citizen as the country continues its move towards universal health coverage for all through the establishment of National Health Insurance scheduled for launch January, 2016.
The Plan, Dr. Beneby said, has the potential to make The Bahamas the toast of the Caribbean — with all hands on board.
“The most important thing is that the community, the public, must want this improvement in healthcare,” Dr. Beneby said, “there will be challenges, but once everyone is positive and willing, together we can overcome those challenges by being creative and innovative and this is why I put considerable emphasis on community involvement, transparency and accountability.”
He added, the meeting with stakeholders and partners provided healthcare professionals and members of the clergy with the opportunity to hold him accountable for his stewardship as Chief Medical Officer of The Bahamas.
“This is why I have placed such a high premium on community involvement, transparency and accountability,” Dr. Beneby said. “I will be accountable to all those who are involved in this journey. I do not know everything. I know many things, but there are many things that I do not know and there are many things that I am unable to do without the team, but equally, perhaps more importantly, there are many things we can do that people assume are insurmountable, with a team effort.
“My main purpose here is for persons to be aware of where we are going; to grasp the vision and together we will put the mission in place with the resources that we have available and make something out of the healthcare system of The Bahamas,” Dr. Beneby said.
Dr. Beneby said the Plan will be led by the five divisions that were established within the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of The Bahamas after a restructuring and re-organization process – clinical, advisory, planning, health regulations/councils and hospitals/infrastructure.
“But that’s just the backbone of it. It’s when we bring everyone else into it – the hospitals, the community, the home care, and when you begin to put flesh on the bones with the clear, firm, foundation or backbone structure, that we are now ready to go forward.”
Dr. Beneby outlined a number of achievements that he said will help to further facilitate his vision for healthcare in The Bahamas. These include the revamping and re-alignment of the Health Councils; the development and establishment of Allied Health Training; Facilitation of the establishment of a National Cancer Registry; the establishment of a Stem Cell Secretariat and Stem Cell Industry; facilitation of clinical input for new legislation for the implementation of National health Insurance and the re-launching of The Bahamas Healthy Lifestyle Coalition.
Other achievements include the re-organization of the National Oral Health Programme; renewed emphasis on the National Mental Health Programme; the facilitation of the WHO/PAHO Health (World Health Organization/Pan American Health Organization) in all policy; the establishment of a national framework for national research funding for health matters; the creation of a team to review the establishment of a national forensic pathology laboratory and the facilitation for the establishment of an Adolescent Primary Care and Counseling Service with the College of The Bahamas.