Health in Crisis!!!

In recent months and weeks, our government has been boasting of 5% growth in the economy and that Grenada was now the fastest growing economy in the Caribbean.

The Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) government has been talking about more hotel projects coming on stream especially in the rural parish of St. David that will create a positive impact on unemployment in the area.

However, very little is said by the same government about positive steps that should be in train to tackle the terrible health situation on the island including a hospital service that many describe as one that had deteriorated into a virtual “Death Trap” for many of our sick people.

The State cannot rely on the private sector to take Healthcare forward but has to be the catalyst itself in providing the best possible health system for its own people.

THE NEW TODAY has seen two postings this week on Social Media that are very shocking in this day and age concerning the death of an individual from the sister isle of Carriacou who was living in the United Kingdom and was on a brief trip home.

The woman, identified as Jacqueline Fitzpatrick fell sick on a ferry that was taking her back to the mainland from the sister isle to catch a flight to take her back to the UK.

This is an edited version from the posting about the incident on the ferry:

“A woman from UK with friends, sister and mother were on the ferry too. But after a while the woman in front of me (became) sick and she vomited. Shortly after that she passed out. When I (saw) it I checked immediately her pulse and state.

“I quickly realised her critical condition – luckily there were two other persons with medical knowledge, one of them a doctor from England. We started with CPR, but no equipment on Board.

“After one hour (of) CPR a boat from the Coast Guard arrived (by) the ferry, but also no lifesaving equipment. Nothing! I, a young medical student from Cuba and the Doctor Lady from UK continued with CPR while the Coast Guard went back to Grenada with high speed. Our small group tried our best (for) more than two hours under terrible conditions.

“Finally we arrived (at) the ferry port. The ambulance was not there and we had to continue CPR. Finally arrived the ambulance and we got the woman in the hospital. The ambulance team was completely overwhelmed and also equipped with nothing! No AED, suction pump, intubation.

“When we finally arrived (at) the Hospital nobody was informed about this patient and no other doctor was present. In conclusion the woman died. The time from the ferry to the hospital was too long and the hospital is not equipped for such an emergency”.

The above clearly speaks for itself about our heathcare system but the following response from another person on Social Media should give a rude awakening to those in authority that many persons are not happy with the attention that is being given to the health of the nation.

Following is the response: “…Yet another sad chapter in Grenada’s collapsing health system! A week ago I attended the funeral service of the late Joseph La Touche who met in an accident on January 19 suffering injuries to his neck and spine along with broken ribs among others.

“According to his relatives who spoke at the funeral, his 40 plus days at the hospital were days of unbearable misery – our hospital (is) lacking both equipment and personnel to deal with his complications yet our government plans to light our cricket stadium costing $10 million dollars and the question is how stupid are we as a people?”

The only two words that THE NEW TODAY can find to describe the current situation is “Quite Shocking”.

It is sad that those who have been in charge of the affairs of Grenada since the end of the reign of Eric Gairy and his labour party government and the People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) of the late Maurice Bishop have failed miserable to build upon the foundation that was put in train by these two leaders for a proper health system for the country.

Gairy brought in St. George’s University (SGU) through an act of Parliament in 1976 and Bishop’s government was able to send a number of Grenadians on scholarships granted by Cuba to qualify in the area of health especially to become doctors and dentists.

The leaders who have been in charge of Grenada since the days of Gairy and Bishop have lacked the vision to get SGU to build a modern and well-equipped hospital that can not only take care of the health needs of our people but to make Health Tourism another important aspect of the Grenadian economy.

What percentage of the so-called 5% growth in the economy is accredited to the Health sector?

The Ministry of Health is clearly in disarray under the current Line Minister, Nickolas Steele who seemingly does not have a clue about how to fix the problem.

Many health professionals in the country have identified former Senator Ann David-Antoine as the best Health Minister ever appointed by the NNP in government and it might not be too late to bring her back to attempt a rescue mission in health.

THE NEW TODAY is contending that given the dismal health situation in the country, our economy will not be able to attract those wealthy Grenadians in North America and Europe who have made good money, want to return home to invest but are reluctant to do so due to the terrible healthcare conditions on the island.

Why would they take the risk when some of the very leaders in Grenada continue to pay lip-service to the health sector but unknown to the population make secret visits to clinics as far away as Paris, France to take care of themselves?

The talk by government about moving in the direction of Sports Tourism will not go far as athletes need proper healthcare facilities to take care of their injuries.

Like King Scholar said in a song many years ago, “We need a hospital for our hospital”.

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