Dr Perry Gomez, Minister of Health, speaks at the presentation of three new dialysis machines to the dialysis unit and a new mammography workstation to the radiology department at the Princess Margaret Hospital.
Photos: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff
By RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Princess Margaret Hospital yesterday received four new dialysis machines and a fully-equipped mammogram workstation as a part of two unique fund raising efforts - all components Health Minister Dr Perry Gomez said would certainly aid scores of Bahamians as National Health Insurance (NHI) looms.
Dr Gomez said that renal failure and breast cancer are two of the most common ailments affecting the Bahamian society and claimed they placed added importance on the government’s proposed NHI scheme.
According to Dr Gomez, the stance taken by private insurers in matters where these ailments exist often leave many Bahamians in a pay or die position.
He added that NHI, once properly formatted and initiated, will look to address matters such as kidney conditions and terminal care associated with cancers.
“One of the differences of private health insurance and NHI is manifestly obvious in the situation of breast cancer. If you have private health insurance and you get breast cancer and the insurance company finds out you have the gene for breast cancer they don’t pay for it, they don’t pay for your care because they say it is a pre-existing condition - you were born with that gene.”
He added: “Under NHI that will not happen. NHI will cover everything.”
The hospital’s foundation, through partnerships with The Tribune Media Group and FYP Builders Mall with respect to its “Donate Dialysis” campaign; and Marathon Bahamas with respect to its “Caring for Breast” initiative raised the $213,000 needed for the essential equipment.
It prompted Dr Gomez to label the initiatives as the “perfect example of private entities aiding public facilitates with instruments critical to saving lives”.
In May 2007, the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation Board partnered with Tile King (subsidiary of FYP) and The Tribune Media Group to launch the “Donate Dialysis” campaign.
The goal of the campaign was to secure sufficient funds - $164,000 - to purchase eight modern dialysis machines for Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH).
The Tribune initiative helped raise a total of $341,000 and from that six machines were procured - four for PMH and two for the Rand Memorial Hospital in Grand Bahama.
Similarly, the “Caring for Breast” initiative resulted in $66,000 towards purchasing a new digital mammogram machine in 2012 and outfitting a radiology workstation earlier this year.
The new addition of the workstation allows more efficiency of mammogram reports for patients and all radiologists in the department to double the rate of mammograms per day.
As recently as Wednesday Prime Minister Perry Christie noted that the push towards implementing NHI has more to do with saving lives, than it does with scoring political points.
The Christie administration has estimated that some 200,000 Bahamians are without health insurance.