ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Family physician Dr Jerry Simon has called for stringent measures to be put in place to improve the country’s health care system.
Dr Simon, who was at the time speaking at the Reparations Support Commission’s sessions on political independence over the weekend, said the country has the necessary resources to improve the delivery of health care but for some reason, this continues to deteriorate year after year.
“We have 157 resident doctors and quite a few of them are Antiguan doctors so we don’t lack the human resources needed to improve the country’s health care system,” he said.
Simon also added that real visible changes need to be made, especially with the deployment of district doctors and nurses in the homes of elderly who are not able to visit the community clinics.
He said as we reflect on 30 years of political independence, our vulnerable assets like our elderly need to be taken care of.
“Where is the humanity? Where is the love? Where is the system that takes care of our elderly who work so hard to build this country?” Simon asked.
The family physician encourages public health officials, and policy makers to come together and work in unison to create a national development policy to move the country forward.
While it was noted that a lot of work needs to be done to improve the health care system, another speaker pointed out that the twin-island-state had made significant strides in this field.
Pathologist Dr Lester Simon, in his presentation, indicated that the country has moved from having only one health centre in St John’s to five health centres strategically located throughout St John’s with resident doctors on a daily basis.
Another highlight was a decline in the neo-natal mortality rate by 50 per cent.
“This is continued under five years, so not only are we taking better care of them in the neonatal period, we are taking better care of them in the first year of life up to year five and these are important achievements,” Simon said.
The pathologist also suggested improved management of our economics as a way to improve the country’s situation.
“We need to move away from the way we are doing health now to transform it into another system where we can cover everyone they way we want to be covered,” he said.
The discussions were held as part of the observance for the 30th anniversary of national independence.