Tribune photo. Minister of Health and Wellness Michael Darville (third from left) outside a wellness symposium 23 March 2023.
Cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and infant mortality: all the stats are going in the wrong direction in The Bahamas post covid. That seems to be the upshot of the Minister of Health’s report to the country when the Prime Minister Philip Davis inaugurated the wellness centre of the Ministry of Health and Wellness last week.
It sent out alarm bells in the country. We have been having an increase in life expectancy at birth for decades but the progress on that front is threatened if we do not get on top of the epidemic of obesity, diabetes, cancer and hypertension. These are together called chronic non-communicable diseases. They plague the Bahamian public.
There are a number of suggestions floating in the public domain. One of them is to impose sin taxes. This means higher taxes on cigarettes, alcohol and sugar drinks. It remains to be seen whether the public will actually go along with this.
We suggest not. Our view is that there simply needs to be more intense public education on the subject from childhood. There should be a concerted effort to change the kinds of meals which are made available to our children from the time they enter school at the kindergarten stage.
In the past month, Fred Mitchell MP for Fox Hill reported that he has been to three funerals all of women who are in their early sixties dying from cancer, or from heart disease or some vascular incident. This clearly points to the issue of lifestyle, and morbidity arising out of diet. That’s the way it looks but we refuse to reform what we eat.
It is even more alarming the infant mortality figures. Too many babies dying within the first year of their birth. With all the public education, many pregnant women never see a doctor until it’s time to go give birth at the hospital. Again public education is the key.
Good luck to Dr. Michael Darville, the Minister of Health.
Number of hits for the week ending Saturday, 25th March, 2023 up to midnight: 291,695;
Number of hits for the month of March up to Saturday, 25th March, 2023 up to midnight; 1,208,610;
Number of hits for the year 2023 up to Saturday, 25th March, 2023 up to midnight: 4,577,175.