“We have to recognize that the Ministry by itself cannot end all of the difficulties pertaining to health that we have in this country. So, sometimes I become very annoyed when I hear people asking what is it the ministry if doing,” Newton said.
According the Permanent Secretary his response to such questions is, “what is it that you as an individual can do to begin to deal with some of the ills that we have in this country?”
“It does not make any sense for us to always look in one direction for solutions, because all of us are a part of the problem and all of us have to be a part of the solution. You cannot be part of a solution if we are not speaking with and to each other,” Newton added.
The PS went on to say that there is health and family life education that has been incorporated into the curriculum of all primary schools, which should exert a powerful influence on the lifestyles of the school-age population.
“Health promotion is considered to be a major strategy for addressing diseases closely tied to lifestyle, such as diabetes, hypertension, cancer, and sexually transmitted diseases. Despite the existence of a policy to that effect, the community’s involvement in the planning and implementation of health programs has been nonexistent. Moreover, there is no evidence that suggests that the health sector is actively seeking this level of involvement from the community,” Newton went on to note.
This having been said, some outstanding examples of community support for health should be highlighted, according to Newton. “For example, it has been reported that the ophthalmic unit at J.N. France Hospital has been fully equipped recently with donations from the private sector.”
“If we are to have a healthier nation we must work together,” Mr Newton noted.