Reform Is “Vital” For Sustainable Health System

January 28, 2016

Jeanne Atherden OBA 2015“Bermuda is at a critical stage in addressing the healthcare needs of its population” as “reform is vital to move to a more sustainable health system,” Minister of Health, Seniors & Environment Jeanne Atherden said.

Speaking at the Well Bermuda Partnership Annual meeting, Minister Atherden said, “I know I don’t have to tell anyone in this room that Bermuda is at a critical stage in addressing the healthcare needs of its population.

“Reform is vital to move to a more sustainable health system that builds a healthy workforce and ensures that the needs of seniors, children and adults are incorporated into our vision for a healthy Bermuda. This meeting will address how we transform this vision for a “Well Bermuda” into action.

“The “Well Bermuda: National Health Promotion Strategy” has been Bermuda’s first concerted effort to create a joined-up approach to the promotion of health on our island, and to create a shared vision for health promoters across all sectors.

“Well Bermuda brings together a wide range of organizations – like charities and the private and public sectors – who are already working on various areas of health and wellness, in order to achieve greater coordination and mobilization of resources. The Department of Health cannot do it alone and good public health requires partnership, collaboration and participation.

“The strategy is organized around three themes: Healthy people, healthy families, healthy communities. These were developed on the basis of identified health priorities. It doesn’t only focus on health issues that are currently problematic but also includes areas where public health is already producing positive results. The Strategy highlights all of the areas where good population health must be ensured.

“There are 18 goals and a lead agency is assigned to each goal. Assigning a lead agency will ensure that action takes place and is continually monitored. The lead agencies developed action plans to address each goal.

“At the Well Bermuda meeting today lead agencies will report on progress on objectives in their respective action plans; successes and challenges during 2015. During the meeting attendees will also work on updating objectives looking forward to 2020. A Well Bermuda 2020 document will be published later in 2016.

“Some of the goals for Healthy People include maintenance of a healthy body weight for height, improving heart health, asthma prevention and control, and reducing diabetes and associated complications.

“For Healthy Families maintaining a healthy childhood development, promoting better quality of life for seniors and a better quality of life for persons with disabilities are among the goals this strategy is designed to achieve. Meanwhile, Healthy Communities seeks to encourage smoke and drug free lifestyles, maintaining low incidence of food and vector borne diseases, increased road safety, and encourage public enjoyment and respect for the environment, among other worthy goals.

“This meeting is extremely well timed to take place following the recent launch of my Ministry’s five year plan for healthcare in Bermuda – the Bermuda Health Strategy 2014 – 2019 and Bermuda Health Action Plan. The vision of the Bermuda Health Strategy is simple: “Healthy People in Healthy Communities”. Its aim is to ensure Bermuda has quality healthcare that is accessible, affordable and sustainable.

“Well Bermuda and the Health Reform Strategy and Action Plan all provide the blueprints to achieve the healthier Bermuda that I know we all believe is possible and want to see. I know every person in this room is committed to making this happen and we share in the belief that we cannot fix Bermuda’s health system without getting people to be healthier. This is why Well Bermuda is so fundamental.

“Ultimately, we know that health is absolutely essential to any community. Without health, we perish because children can’t develop well and hit all their milestones to set them on a strong and prosperous path.

“Without health adults can’t work to raise families and care for their elders. Without health, our golden years tarnish and easily turn into a harrowing decade or two on a revolving door of healthcare institutions with a quality of life that is not deserved by anyone. We need health, and we need all of us to turn Bermuda into a community filled with healthy people.

“Today in Bermuda, approximately two thirds of adults have at least one chronic non-communicable disease. This is an appalling situation. How did we get here? How did we – so educated and prosperous – allow ourselves to become such a sick population?

“To some extent, I think we all know it: An obesogenic environment conducive to poor lifestyles has bred a population that now struggles to sustain itself. And we are paying dearly for the state of our health. We pay for it in premiums and in the costs to the public purse, in addition to the pain and suffering to individuals and families.

“But we can’t do it alone. None of us can. Changing our culture so that the healthy choice becomes the easier choice more often for more people will take a concerted and unified effort from all of us. Everyone makes an even bigger difference when we are all aiming for the same target.

“From the front line nurses helping people with asthma, to the changing of laws to reduce tobacco use. From the multi-disciplinary professionals who rally around a diabetic patient to manage their condition, to the policy decisions about insurance coverage for such care. All of these things make a difference that is multiplied in quantum measures when we do them together, as a single unifying voice for health.

“So today, I wish you a highly successful meeting of the minds, as we unite as a single unifying voice for a “Well Bermuda”.

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Comments (12)

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  1. Sounds like Flint

  2. I agree with the Minister. We must all become more serious about our health. A few years ago , I suggested to the Party that we start the Premier’s Walking Club . We need to get Bermuda up and out walking. The Premier needs to take the lead. Additionally, all M.P.’s and government minister can encourage their constituencies to do the same.

  3. The Truth says:

    If the minister wants to encourage a healthier community she will need to work out a plan with the minister of finance on offsetting the importation tax of necessary healthy foods onto the unhealthy ones. Fruits, vegetables and meats importation taxes should go onto junk food, alcohol and tobacco importation taxes.

    Sure there will be those who whaeh! whaeh! whaeh! all the way home about having to pay an arm and leg for their poison fixes and the sellers of the poison about it being harder to sell at a higher price. They should be ignored because our health insurance has gone up as a result of their over indulgence. Those who sell alcohol and tobacco will never be harmed by a price increase since no matter what the price those who choose to use these substance will still use them no matter the cost only they will use them less which is better for everyone. Doctors say a glass a day not a bottle so whiners should just put a cork in it.

    Another plan that needs to move forward is a better inspection of foods sold in stores. No one should have to buy a package of berries that sat in an unrefrigerated container for hours before being unloaded and has grown moldy. If the store can’t manage their goods properly they shouldn’t be allowed a license to manage them at all. The customer should have the right to pick out all moldy berries and replace them with whatever is good in another container so they get their monies worth if this is the way the store owner insists on selling damaged goods.

    US has a higher rate of obesity and diabetes than their northern neighbors and many studies show it’s the way their healthy foods are priced opposed to unhealthy ones.

    • inna says:

      We can also get back to basics and grow a few (or a lot of) vegetables to supplement what we purchase at the store. Bermuda has a semi-tropical climate, and almost any vegetable can be grown with some success in our soils.

      Other than nutrition, there are also loads of health benefits that come from growing your own food.

      Just some “food for thought”.

  4. Takbir Karriem Sharrieff says:

    If there are approximately 65000 Persons in Bermuda and they all presumably have teeth,and approximately half of them are schoolchildren,maybe 3% are Senior Citizens.Heaven forbid if any of them need a dentist, or a tooth puller.The Government Clinic do not provide these services any more.They have Privatized these services and recommend that you see a doctor,or Dentist of your choice.The Dentists of this Island are gleefully rubbing their hands with glee.Black White,and Others.P.L.P.—-O.B.A.—–and others.Money over People as one Politician puts it.Talk is cheap.Peace.

  5. Fair Perspective says:

    Check out the PLP’s health care plan Minister, it seems to be far more effective in addressing the islands concerns than anything that has been brought forward by the OBA government thus far.

    • Double S says:

      Yeah.

      Homeopathic medicine (sugar pills, placebos etc.) will definitely solve our healthcare problems.

      Cause everyone knows by forcing insurance companies to cover additional procedures will most definitely not result in higher premium increases.

      Don’t forge the $300mn PLP emergency wing is the main driver behind the spike in healthcare costs recently. But I bet you already did.

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      I still haven’t heard from the PLP how they intend to introduce regulations to the unregulated homeopathic industry to insure that what is being provided has proved that it is a health benefit and not a snake oil… Or how they would fund such an addition to our system that would result in increasing the healthcare costs. The introduction and forced coverage of healthcare solutions that sound good and might mentally make someone feel better, when in fact they do nothing and ultimately lead to a person having to spend more in medical care to fix what could have been treated earlier, will ultimately increase the healthcare costs. The only real way for our healthcare cost to decrease is for us to take responsibility for our health and be healthier. They should also start building a database of foods imported, so that they can develop a classification system that will make it easier to raise duty on foods that are unhealthy and decrease them on foods that aren’t.

  6. watching says:

    One aspect of health foundation that is now missing is a full physical education component in the school system. The children are not getting as much activity as they used to and it is causing problems as they develop and are more sedentary.

  7. Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

    Only way to achieve sustainable health care is to keep you sick…follow the money and see where it ends up…Unfortunately the health care system is too big…do you realise how much it consumes…It is an industry “sustained” by MONEY…its not in their interest to cure you…but to treat you and keep you coming back with your wallet of course…After they’ve treated and your reserves are depleted …eb eb eb that’s all folk’s .

  8. jrsmith says:

    Can we get some information from the health dept about the Zika virus that is due to spared throughout all of the Americas. What steps are we taking now to be ready for this?