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Latest NPDP News

Get Well Bahamas Launch Signals Shift Towards Prevention in National Healthcare Programme

2/23/2011 12:02:00 AM
It has become a matter of concern for the government that one in three Bahamians suffers from one or more chronic diseases, such as hypertension, ischaemic heart disease and diabetes, Minister of Health The Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis said Monday night at the launch of The Get Well Bahamas Health and Fitness Challenge held at Worker’s House.

“It is widely known that the onset and severity of many of these ailments are lifestyle-related and can be prevented or successfully managed to allow those affected to lead normal lives. The statistics made it clear that the national health programme needed a shift in emphasis towards prevention and wellness activities to create a healthier population,” Dr. Minnis said.

The Minister addressed forty persons who were selected from over 200 applicatants to participate in the Get Well Bahamas Health and Fitness Challenge, the pilot signature project of NIB’s Healthy People Programme which is a component of the National Prescription Drug Plan. Over the next 12 weeks the Challenge will provide wellness coaching and personal fitness training to the successful applicants to help them combat obesity and the negative impacts of chronic non-communicable conditions on their lives. The Challenge is being implemented by Jemi Health and Wellness and Body Zone Fitness.

The Minister of Health commended the group of 40 and all applicants for taking responsibility for their health and said all stakeholders who live and work in The Bahamas must contribute to achieving a healthy, resilient population.

“Given the increasing level of chronic disease in this country, we need to change mindsets and behaviours as regards health. Every Bahamian has to take a personal interest in his or her health and make a commitment to improving and maintaining it. Such a commitment means getting regular health screening, which is available at the government-subsidized hospitals and clinics. We need to increase our exercise, balance our diets and moderate our eating.

“The reward is multifaceted and substantial. For Government, it can mean containing health care spending, retarding borrowing and inflation and a better return on investment. At the level of business and industry, it can mean fewer staff sick days, more on-task hours, greater productivity and an increased ability to compete. On the individual level, we increase our chances of remaining physically and mentally fit and socially active for life,” Dr. Minnis said.

Algernon Cargill, Director of the National Insurance Board, said early detection and prevention are important messages of Get Well Bahamas Challenge and the Healthy People Programme.

“If underlying problems that fuel certain chronic diseases—high body mass index, blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol levels are detected early, steps can be taken to reduce the likelihood that more serious conditions such as heart attack, stroke or kidney failure will strike and disable or do worse.

“Out of this programme we would like to see more Bahamians become aware of the risk factors and symptoms of the chronic diseases which the Ministry of Health has targeted for reduction among Bahamians. It is our goal that more people who recognize the danger signs will subsequently consult their doctors for follow-up screening and treatment where indicated. The overall goal, over the long term, is a quantifiable reduction in the incidence of the diseases targeted,” Mr. Cargill said.

He pledged that NIB and its partners Jemi Health and Wellness and Bodyzone Fitness will give full attention to helping each challenger reach his or her fitness goals.

“I congratulate each of our 40 Get Well Challengers for being selected to form part of this special group. You are to be praised for having the courage to step forward and say “I need to dedicate more time to increasing my level of fitness and wellness. It takes great determination to commit to a 12-week pro-gramme that promises to challenge you physically and mentally. It will certainly take strength of character and persistence to follow through,” Mr. Cargill said.

According to Jan Martin-Isaacs, President of Jemi Health and Wellness, the criteria for selection of the 40 challengers included having one or more of four chronic lifestyle conditions and a body mass index over 30. She said each participant will be assigned a personal fitness trainer and a health and wellness coach who is trained in working with persons in the area of behaviour change.

“The coaching provides awareness and motivation for all of you to make changes by taking small sustainable steps toward your goals,” Mrs. Martin-Isaacs said.

At the end of the 12 weeks the three most improved challengers will receive prizes including an entire year’s supply of Nautilus water for the first prize winner, three one-year Bodyzone Fitness gym memberships and certificates to purchase new clothing and healthy foods.

While only three persons will be declared grand prize winners as regards material prizes Algernon Cargill said everyone who makes it through the whole programme will be a grand prize winner.

“I predict that you will walk away proudly with a fitter body, more stamina and a great sense of accomplishment and pride,” Mr. Cargill said.

TCL Photo-caption
GET WELL BAHAMAS LAUNCHED -- The Get Well Bahamas Health & Fitness Challenge was officially launched on Monday by Minister of Health, The Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis, M.P. Forty persons were selected from over 200 applications to receive 12 weeks of wellness coaching and personal fitness training to combat obesity and chronic conditions including diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and ischaemic heart disease. Get Well Bahamas is a signature programme of the National Prescription Drug Plan’s Healthy People Programme. The Challenge is being implemented by Jemi Health and Wellness and Bodyzone Fitness under the auspices of the National Insurance Board. The 40 Wellness Challengers are pictured above with Minister of Health, the Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis (centre second row), Algernon Cargill, Director of NIB and other NIB executives. (TCL Photo by Wendell J. Cleare)

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