BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, February 27, 2018 (PLP PR Media Inc.) — Government takes the wellbeing of the citizens and residents of the Federation seriously, but Minister of Health the Hon Eugene Hamilton is calling on them to take a stake and invest more in their own lives by leading healthy lifestyles.
Minister Hamilton while hailing government’s decision to launch, on Friday February 23, the National Health Insurance Implementation Commission that will pave way for the introduction of Universal Health Insurance in the country, he at the same time hailed the Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) for launching, on Saturday February 24, the inaugural RUSM Heart Walk.
“We had an opportunity to meet with the students of the Ross University that is now located over at the Marriott at the end of their heart health walk and it was a good thing to join with them,” said the Hon Hamilton on Saturday February 24 as he addressed the media at the Basseterre Ferry Terminal, where the RUSM Heart Walk had terminated.
The Health Minister and Prime Minister Dr the Hon Timothy Harris had that morning held a tour of the Basseterre Public Market where they met and held discussions with vendors and members of the farming community.
After the tour at the market, they crossed over to the ferry terminal where faculty and students of the Ross University School of Medicine had assembled after completing the heart health walk that had started at the Joseph N. France General Hospital.
“We have just had an opportunity to interact with, and to welcome students who are here from the Ross University School of Medicine which was originally in Dominica,” Prime Minister Harris told the media. “We are happy for that opportunity to make them feel especially welcome at this particular moment in time.”
In his appeal to citizens and residents Minister Hamilton said: “I want to encourage persons to focus on health in all of us because we do not know what will happen to us. Anything can happen to us because we are just humans.”
Saying the RUSM Heart Walk by the faculty and students of the Ross University School of Medicine was a perfect example, he urged people to start looking at how they treat their bodies whether they are exercising enough, whether they are mediating enough and whether they are eating the right food.
He noted that there has been a rise in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which is costly both to the government and the affected parties, and therefore noted: “This health walk is an important thing for all of us to help to keep healthy. We want from the ministry to begin to do more about promotion and pre-testing, and are encouraging people to do the tests.”
Minister Hamilton also praised Prime Minister Harris who has been organising monthly health walks for the last over ten years, initially in Constituency Number Seven which he represents in the National Assembly, but now have been introduced to other constituencies in the country.
“The prime minister is the best at this,” said the Hon Hamilton. “He organises a health walk almost every month and he makes it his duty to go out with the health walks. It is an example being set for all citizens of the country because again if you have to look at it from the point of view of health alone, walk and exercise is an important ingredient to help hold on health for a longer period, rather get sick longer. It is a good example set by head of government.”
Dean of Students at the Ross University School of Medicine, Dr Rhonda McIntyre, said they were pleased as seeing the high level of enthusiasm displayed and participation by RUSM faculty, students as well as local health care providers on the inaugural RUSM Heart Walk.
“We felt that we achieved our goal of raising awareness of heart disease prevention,” said Dr McIntyre. “The appearance of the Prime Minister and Minister of Health was a pleasant addition to the event highlighting the importance of what we wanted to achieve.”
The school which was relocated from Dominica after the passage of Hurricane Maria last year, and was briefly accommodated on a cruise ship in Basseterre’s Harbour, now has a satellite campus at the St. Kitts Marriott.
According to Ross University School of Medicine’s Vice President, Global Communications, Ms Jennifer McGuffin, the walk had commenced on Saturday morning at the Joseph N. France General Hospital then moved along Cayon Street into West Independence Square Street and on to Bay Road.
“It concluded at the Ferry Terminal,” observed Ms McGuffin. “There were approximately 65 persons on the walk including doctors, nurses and other private citizens. The walk was open to, and included, members of the island community.”