Minister of Health Dr Duane Sands.
By RIEL MAJOR
Tribune Staff Reporter
HEALTH Minister Dr Duane Sands yesterday dismissed the claims of a humanitarian worker who criticised the government and the Ministry of Health for a lack of resources in Abaco.
On Monday, humanitarian worker Burke Bryant posted on Facebook that he was wakened at 7.20am as a first responder to a traffic fatality in Abaco that claimed the life of two men. Mr Bryant claimed that there was one doctor on the island and responders had to wait for three hours or more for the men to be airlifted to New Providence.
Dr Sands told reporters outside of Cabinet that the post made a number of allegations that were not correct.
He said: “First of all the allegation was there was only one doctor in Abaco. I would have given the names of the five physicians that are posted throughout Abaco inclusive of the number of NGO posted physicians and the Department of Health physicians. There are five plus physicians providing health services in Abaco.
“Now that said I think it’s important not to shoot the messenger but to listen to the message to try to understand how it is that things can be done better. Certainly, I think we need to pay attention to the fact that speed kills. So, to have two vehicles involved in a head on collision at a high rate of speed that results in the death of two people in one car is certainly something that’s a horrible tragedy and a preventable tragedy.”
Dr Sands added he was reasonably satisfied with the responsiveness of the air evacuation team.
“That said if we look at the management of the tragedy after the event...to mobilise an…aircraft to get to Abaco and then to get to Cooper’s Town in order to evacuate the remaining victim who as I understand at my last report was stable and in hospital,” he said.
“So again, it’s not a matter of being critical of anybody who says that things can be done better. What we try to do is look at the suggestions being made and act on them if they’re going to improve the care that’s delivered in any environment, but particularly in Abaco and Grand Bahama.”
The minister also noted his ministry has started the process of negotiating a memorandum of understanding with the University of Miami in order to provide surgical services in Abaco for the first time in history.
Dr Sands said: “There have never been critical care services provided in Abaco. The operating room in the major facility in Abaco has never been used. We believe that will do wonders to improve the quality of care that’s provided in Abaco. I meet with the University of Miami team on November 1.
“I would have met with the dean of the medical school and the chairman of the board. We are looking forward to a collaborative effort in order to improve the quality of care being delivered, not only in Abaco, but in Grand Bahama.”