Prime Minister says Bahamas facing health crisis

By Rumi Samuel Published on March 23, 2023
Prime Minister says Bahamas facing health crisis

As the Ministry of Health launched the “Your Wellness Matters” campaign at Baha Mar today, Prime Minister Philip Davis said The Bahamas faces a nationwide health crisis.

Davis said the Ministry of Health and Wellness would use the campaign as one of the key drivers to help Bahamians make changes to their lives to improve their health.

The campaign will include programs to facilitate and encourage more active lifestyles; educate on mental health strategies and destigmatise seeking therapy; provide wellness activities in each community on each island; and engage school children at all grade levels through specific programs tailored for their age groups.

“We are faced with a nationwide health crisis that we must address – and it’s no exaggeration to say that many Bahamian lives depend on it,” Davis said.

“…Too many of us have suffered due to diabetes, hypertension and cancer. Not all disease is avoidable. But we can reduce the incidence and perhaps the severity of disease by making important changes to our lifestyle. We must also change cultural attitudes toward mental illness.”

The initiative comes following the release of the National Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) Risk Factor STEPS Survey, which highlights the massive burden of NCDs on The Bahamas and calls for bold and urgent action at the highest political levels and at the grassroots level to bridge the gap from promise to priority to progress.

Davis said the new Wellness Unit would continue to use Bahamian data to drive its initiatives. Each program is expected to have measurable outcomes so the government can track progress and ensure the unit can map a clear direction each year.

The STEPS report also highlighted poor diet choices by Bahamians. The prime minister said that aspect must be addressed.

“Now, as many of us know all too well, keeping a healthier diet can be more expensive than an unhealthy one. Ramen noodles are cheaper than fresh vegetables,” Davis said.

“A can of soda can be cheaper than a bottle of water. Chips and cookies are often more affordable than fruit. Unhealthy calories from fast food and junk food are too often the cheapest option. If we are going to urge people to eat healthily, it’s on us to make sure nutritious food becomes affordable for everyone.”

He said the government is exploring different tax structures for fruits and vegetables versus sugary and processed foods.

Davis added that the government would also provide better marketing and support for BAIC and BAMSI to ensure greater access to healthy, seasonal produce and encourage and support community farming, especially in communities where affordable, nutrient-filled choices are currently in short supply.

Rumi Samuel

Rumi Samuel

0 Comment

No comment found. Be the first one to add comment on this article.

Leave a Comment