Polyclinics across Barbados are now in the possession of state-of-the-art medical equipment, through the collaborative efforts of the Ministry of Health and the Ninth European Development Fund.

Yesterday, Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, made a presentation of the equipment to the Warrens Polyclinic, expressing that this initiative is testimony to the Government’s commitment in providing improved, qualitative and comprehensive Health Care Services to the citizens and residents of Barbados in an accessible and affordable manner.

According to the Health Minister, the provision of this equipment will assist greatly in restoring the pride of primary health care.

“I trust that from this day henceforth, Barbadians will now elect to seek health care first at a polyclinic rather than to endure long waits at the hospital for minor complaints. I am mindful that we still have some ways to go in terms of increased customer service levels and staffing, but let our initiative here be a signal of more improvements to come,” he said.

Inniss also signalled that the Ministry of Health is moving away from the curative health model which is expensive and unsustainable, to a most desired system based on prevention, preservation and promotion of health.

“We can do this only when our polyclinics are equipped adequately to deal with the challenges that we are facing in the health sector,” he stressed.

“One of my political goals was to strengthen primary health care, ensuring that all polyclinics are adequately equipped and resourced with a critical mass of affordable, appropriate, and properly functioning equipment. This equipment will be used and applied correctly by competent personnel, with minimal risk to their patients and to themselves, and for polyclinics to render the first line of quality health care to Barbadians so that the Queen Elizabeth Hospital will be used as a referral point for secondary or tertiary care or for emergencies only.”

He further revealed that in the area of Urgent Care and General Practice services, a total of 0 000 was allocated. With 7 000 going towards the purchasing of the medical equipment and accessories distributed to all the polyclinics, starting with Warrens Polyclinic. The remaining 000 went to the training and certification of over 60 medical and nursing staff from the polyclinics.

Senior Medical Officer of Health – Primary Care, Dr Elizabeth Ferdinand, was also on hand during the presentation. She identified that the medical equipment included vital signs monitor and accessories; automated external defibrillator and accessories; ECG machine and accessories; heavy-duty nebulizer and accessories; wall mounted combined Ophthalmoscope and Otoscope and their accessories.

“Replacing and upgrading technology and infrastructure is imperative if we are to continuously improve client services,” she noted.

“I am satisfied with the strides we have made in strengthening our primary health care system in the acquiring of vital pieces of modern medical equipment, and training staff, on the identification and treatment of urgent cases as well as how to operate this equipment so necessary for the optimum management of our patients,” she expressed.

(Source http://www.barbadosadvocate.com/newsitem.asp?more=local&NewsID=21964)