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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Nov 9, CMC – Health Minister Donville Inniss has told Barbadians they should put health care ahead of their mobile phones, going to a bar or even going overseas on vacation. He says Barbadians are also not doing enough in terms of early diagnosis, care and treatment of major illnesses, especially non-communicable diseases (NCD). Addressing students of the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic (SJPP) at the start of their fourth annual health day, fair and HIV Food Bank drive, Inniss reminded Barbadians that health responsibility lies with them.. “Start treating your health as a priority. Put your health ahead of your cell phone, liming in the bar, going overseas on vacation, buying a new car or simply doing nothing…Do not pass the buck. Do not put off till tomorrow that which you can do today. It may save your life,” he said. He said that the public should check their blood pressure regularly and should not dismiss persistent symptoms. He urged men in particular not to delay visiting a clinic to have a Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test. “Human nature is such that if you wake up a morning and see a rash all over your body, then you may immediately rush off to the doctor without even taking a bath or brushing your teeth – such is the urgency. “However, if you start to feel lethargic or have an occasional tingling in the toes, you are apt to dismiss such (symptoms) and it may take a year or two before seeking the advice of a doctor. We seem to have dismissed the old saying that ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,’” he added. The Health Minister said that his words were not meant to frighten citizens but to continue to be frank with Barbadians whilst at the same time, giving them the opportunity to help government to identify solutions. “Above all, it helps our citizens become more aware of what each person can do to lead healthier lifestyles and to help contain the national cost of health care. “I am satisfied that this approach has begun to yield fruit. The incidence of cancers, diabetes, hypertension, respiratory illnesses and sexually transmitted diseases continue to take their toll on the lives of so many in our society. “Not only are we speaking of mortality rates, but also the fact that so many sick days are recorded in the workforce, low productivity, loss of income to families and disruption of family units, all have severe social and economic consequences to individuals, families and societies,” Inniss said.