In the pink of health
SENATOR IRENE SANDIFORD-GARNER would like to see more Barbadians, especially women, taking responsibility for their health.
The parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Health made this request as she spoke to the media during a cancer awareness promotion in Cave Shepherd yesterday. She urged individuals to become familiar with their bodies and to get annual check-ups so that abnormal changes in their bodies would be detected at an early stage.
“I am hearing a lot of women saying that they do not go to get annual medical check-ups. This is my third year doing this promotion, and I make time to do it because I think that it is important that we endorse these types of activities. There seems to be a heightened awareness but people still guiltily say, ‘no I don’t do my checks’,” she stated.
Sandiford-Garner said she was aware of the fact that some people complained that it was “expensive to get check-ups and tests”. But as far as the senator was concerned, the Government provided free health care at the polyclinics and at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
“I look at it this way as a woman: If we have a special event coming up we do not think twice about coming into town and putting out two or three hundred dollars for that special dress plus shoes and bag. So don’t tell me that going to the doctor is too expensive. I can’t accept that. I would tell any woman that the best money you can spend is on your health,” she said.
She also noted that if a woman had to wait at the doctor’s office or clinic, it was a sacrifice she should be willing to make on behalf of her health.
“If you can’t wait, well then you would have to go for private care where you have a better chance of seeing a doctor earlier. At least you have the options; in some countries people do not have an option….it’s either pay for it or forget it.”
Asked about the reported poor work ethic of some administrative workers in the public hospital and polyclinics, Sandiford-Garner said: “I think the work attitudes of Barbadians on the whole need to be improved. I can give an example where I went to buy something on Monday and I was asking the cashier certain questions that I thought she would be glad to answer to,”
“She was very rude to me and I came out the line and put it back on the shelf. I didn’t need it that badly that I had to swallow her rudeness before I swallowed her chicken. I don’t think that work ethic is special to one institution, it is throughout Barbados. We are taking the goodwill of the public for granted and at some point it will run out,” she said.