Under the theme, ‘Universal Health Coverage: Everyone, Everywhere,’ World Health Month was officially opened by the Minister of Health, Dr. Duane Sands, Thursday (April 12) morning in the foyer of the Rand Memorial Hospital.
Opening his presentation with a quote from Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations, Dr. Sands said, ‘It is my aspiration that health finally will be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for.’
“These words help to encapsulate the objective of World Health Day. Observed each year on April 7, World Health Day is a global initiative that arose out of the first World Health Assembly held in 1948.
“Each year, through this initiative, we seek to focus public attention on significant public health issues that impact national, region and international health systems,” said the Health Minister.
He noted that many events and activities have been planned to promote personal health and wellness, and to highlight particular areas of interest in the health sector.
“I am particularly pleased to note that events are also planned to reinforce the importance of our institutions and health services becoming more involved, by collaborating with our communities, corporate interests and public sector.”
Dr. Sands added that he fully supports the activities of World Health Month, commencing next week with the observance of Public Health Week and Volunteer Recognition Week. “They include events in support of the HIV #KnowYourStatus Initiative, the Laboratory Week, and Blood Drive and Health and Safety at Work Week.
“These and other events help to underscore the importance of personal health and national collaboration.
“I wish to take this opportunity to commend the planning committee and the entire staff of the GBHS, for their outstanding contribution to ensuring the people of the Northern Bahamas are exposed to the requisite information to change lifestyles and empower to embrace health.
“I am also pleased to commend the GBHS for once again spearheading the observance of WHM. Thank you for your efforts to coordinate activities each year to mark this occasion since 1986; once again you have done an outstanding job. I applaud your efforts.”
Sharon Williams, Grand Bahama Health Services (GBHS) Hospital Administrator, said, “Today, as we have done each year throughout the existence of the Rand Memorial Hospital and Grand Bahama Health Services, we take this opportunity to educate our community on global health issues, designated by the World Health Organization (WHO), and threats to the health and welfare of our people and further to announce initiatives and activities throughout the rest of this month, as we celebrate our health.
“We also look forward to educating persons on initiatives that we are putting in place for remainder of the year, for our individual and community wellness.
“This year the WHO has decided on a general theme, a theme that reaches all corners of the world, all facets of our society and all communities of our nation,” Williams noted.
“Indeed the concept chosen, ‘Universal health coverage: Everyone, Everywhere,’ with the slogan ‘Health for All’ is the very foundation on which our very health services has been built and continues to be developed.
“We feel that this concept, though a challenging and far reaching concept for many nations, that with the influx of health care providers – our health services, public and private, our partner organizations, the workplace, families and persons taking individual pride in their care, that we can find ways to maximize access and coverage.
“With this in mind, our ministry continues to support efforts to establish best systems to meet the needs of our people throughout our Commonwealth.”
A number of activities are slated for the remainder of the month to celebrate world health throughout the island.