On Friday June 8th, 2018, Dr Hilary Bowman, University President made a presentation at the 5th Annual Medical Conference and Community Outreach Programme, hosted by Caribbean Medical Providers Practicing Abroad (CMPA) in Association with The New Jersey Medical Association. The event was hosted for the Caribbean medical diaspora & the Caribbean medical fraternity under the title “Ending the Needless Deaths in the Caribbean Due to Non-Communicable Diseases, Cancers & Strokes”. The CMPPA is actively involved in outreach and medical assistance in the Caribbean and aims at developing the quality of healthcare in the region.
Dr Bowman began his presentation by citing several concerned authorities in the medical field across the Caribbean who all lament over the availability of skilled medical staff in the public sector. These sources state that while it may seem that we are producing many of these professionals, over half of these individuals end up functioning abroad.
He then went on to describe the state of training and the development of the role of such personnel, specifically nurses, and how the importance of nurses rose relative to the calibre of nurses through history. Even as this is so, there is a great need for training in the Caribbean as nurses play a critical role in providing the primary source of healthcare for most communities in the Caribbean and more so for the under-served and rural communities.
A tremendous contributing factor to the quality of healthcare is proper recruitment and selection processes. These, of course are just the base concerns, as proper training and facilitation of thorough learning are key to an overall improved healthcare system.
He expressed gratitude and hope for the Caribbean as governments begin to join the train of proactive healthcare training and endorsing and supporting the institutions that provide training to these would be professionals. He noted that governments have a huge role to play in prevention of communicable disease through the improvement of the health care landscape through training and funding and they are endeavoring to do so.
A terrible disparity of salaries was highlighted as one of the main reasons for the movement of nurses to more developed countries, stating that until this worrisome situation is addressed, we will continue to experience the drain of professionals in this region.
Dr Bowman encouraged the professionals to have a more long-term approach to healthcare, and encouraged the development of preventative care across the region. He highlighted the benefits of this care in communities such as Loma Linda, the only BLUE ZONE (an area of unusually high quality of life and wellness) in the United States.
He ended his presentation by admonishing attendees to pay attention to their own personal diet and lifestyle as a measure to improve the overall health of the region, and further encouraged cooperation between governments, communities and organizations such as the CMPPA as a means of effectively addressing and improving the state of healthcare in the Caribbean.