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State of healthcare critical – Atherden

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The island is at a critical stage in addressing its healthcare needs and reform is vital to creating a more sustainable health system, according to Jeanne Atherden.

But the Minister of Health, Seniors and Environment said changing Bermuda’s culture for the better will take a concerted and unified effort from all involved.

Ms Atherden was speaking on Wednesday at the Well Bermuda partnership annual meeting: the island’s first concerted effort to create a joined-up approach to the promotion of health.

“I know I don’t have to tell anyone in this room that Bermuda is at a critical stage in addressing the healthcare needs of its population,” she said.

“Reform is vital to move to a more sustainable health system that builds a healthy workforce and ensures that the needs of seniors, children and adults are incorporated into our vision for a healthy Bermuda.

“About two thirds of adults have at least one chronic non-communicable disease, Ms Atherden said and questioned the cause.

“To some extent, I think we all know it: an obesogenic environment conducive to poor lifestyles has bred a population that now struggles to sustain itself.

“We pay for it in premiums and in the costs to the public purse, in addition to the pain and suffering to individuals and families. Changing our culture so that the healthy choice becomes the easier choice more often for more people will take a concerted and unified effort from all of us.”

But the minister stressed that the Department of Health cannot tackle the problem alone, adding that good public health requires partnership, collaboration and participation.

Well Bermuda brings together organisations such as charities and the private and public sectors, who are already working on various areas of health and wellness, in order to achieve greater coordination and mobilisation of resources.

Virloy Lewin, the Department of Health’s Health Promotion Coordinator, said the meeting allowed the partners to reconnect and to share accomplishments and challenges.

“Overall, the meeting was excellent,” Dr Lewin told The Royal Gazette.

“During the breakout session, the action groups met to discuss current objectives and determined whether they had been achieved, partially achieved or not achieved. Action groups also determined whether to keep, amend or discard objectives.”

She added that the meeting was just the starting point for updating the health promotion strategy’s objectives. The action groups will keep meeting and a deadline of March 4 was set for them to complete their action plans.

“Another goal of this meeting was to inform the partnership of the plans for a new Well Bermuda document: Well Bermuda 2020

“It is the target date for accomplishment of objectives and is in line with the Bermuda Health Action Plan 2014 to 2019.”

The Steps to a Well Bermuda 2014 survey results were also presented and the data will provide a baseline for several of the goal objectives.

Jeanne Atherden, the Minister of Health, Seniors and Environment, speaking at the Well Bermuda partnership annual meeting (Photograph supplied)
The Well Bermuda Partnership annual meeting provided an opportunity for partners to reconnect and share their accomplishments and challenges (Photograph supplied)
Virloy Lewin, the Department of Health's Health Promotion Coordinator, at the Well Bermuda Partnership annual meeting (Photograph supplied)