Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Mr. Khan - Get Off Your Fat Ass And Do Your Job

The Health Minister is Failing


A group of Trini youths, Youth Voices Magazine" are becoming increasingly  concerned about the affects of non-communicable diseases in T&T.  They see, like we all can our government's attitude towards the future health of Trinidad and Tobago.

In the past I posted about this topic October 2011, "Can The UN World Summit Save 1000s of Lives In T&T?" There were some sobering facts on the condition of the Health Care System in T&T. What is Trinidad & Tobago's government's position with respect to addressing the national health care issues?

The reality is that the question is being answered now by the current Minister of Health, Fuad Khan.  He seems to think that his position in the government is one of an advocate for change.  He does not see himself as an initiator of change.  He has been making some very concerning announcements with regards to his approach or remedies to the situation.  He is letting the population know what the government's position is to put the blame squarely on the shoulders of the consumers.  He's right, the individual is ultimately to blame for the state of his own health. Here's his position on working with manufacturers and importers.

Maybe the resources are not available for him to deal with issues like the lack of beds, essential medical equipment and human resources.  Although that is not acceptable in any other civilized society we are beyond that we accept that it is not working.  But what is most unacceptable is the Health Minister getting on a soap box and making what amounts to useless announcements about the results of international research on non-communicable diseases.

Granted people need to know the state of our nation's health in comparison to the rest of the world. With non-communicable diseases like Diabetes being the highest in the hemisphere and the resulting ailments like strokes, high blood pressure and asthma overtaking our population, his position is untenable.  He is the captain at the helm of health care in this country.  He is saying that all he can do is warn us but...

If the Ministry of Health can do nothing; who can? 

Today, another article was published with him announcing that T&T "Citizens Need To Make Healthy Choices".  Of course he should be applauded for letting the people know but he is the Health Minister, there must be more he can do.

Granted Life style diseases are not caused by obvious health issues, they are caused by the life style of the individuals.  It cannot be totally addressed by the Health Ministry but there is no "Life Style Ministry" the Health Minister must lead the charge to change the way the high incidence of non-communicable diseases are being addressed. 

One thing that could be done is the passage of legislation restricting the content of foods sold in this country.  There would be no need for consumers to make unhealthy food choice decisions if the options were not available. The Health Minister's excuse is that "behavior cannot be legislated".  And we both know that that's bull...

Behavior has been legislated with the seat belt laws and with drunk driving laws.  How come now, in the case of our nation's health it cannot be done.  Of course it's harder to control consumers in this instance but that does not mean that nothing can be done. 

There is no passion in the man for the job of Health Minister.  He does not see himself ad a change agent, instead he is an observer who can make pronouncements on health that are relevant but useless to an already addicted population. Surely he will probably hate or be persuaded against coming out and disrupting the livelihood of campaign contributors and financial supporters by proposing legislation that limited the content of specific ingredients on foods produced and imported into the country.  .   

Thousands of lives are at stake.  We know he realizes this, yet he does nothing.  Fact is that if he does not feel he can do it he should allow someone else to take the position or just resign.  But why would he ever consider tendering his resignation when no one in the society is holding his feet to the fire.  Someone should. 

Whey yuh think?