KINGSTON, Dec. 7 (JIS):
Health Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, has welcomed a report that highlights the significant costs associated with treating trauma-related cases in the public health system.
The Cost of Care report, which was launched on Wednesday (December 6) at the University of the West Indies (UWI) regional headquarters in Mona, St. Andrew, shows that the direct and indirect medical cost of treating injuries at public facilities resulting from violence, road traffic crashes and attempted suicides in 2014 totalled $12.6 billion.
The study indicates that personnel at public hospitals islandwide attended to more than 25,000 violence-related injuries, 13,000 resulting from traffic accidents, and 500 emanating from attempted suicide during the period.
It was prepared by the Violence Prevention Alliance in collaboration with the Health Ministry, University Hospital of the West Indies, Mona GeoInformatics Institute; JN Foundation, and the UWI.
Dr. Tufton said the report, which is “long overdue” brings into sharp focus the need for “greater emphasis on prevention as opposed to the curative approach”.
Noting that trauma cases account for 59 per cent of the Ministry’s resources, he said that the money can be routed into supporting cases that “we cannot avoid”.
“More often than not, we place too little effort on the preventative side. What the study does is to provide the support for placing more resources and effort on prevention (because) prevention is, indeed, better than cure,” the Minister added.
He said the report also provides better understanding of the impact of trauma-related costs on individuals, families and the country.
“We support the work that has been done, and one of the things that we would like to do is discuss some of the possible solutions because, while it is important for us to help persons to understand the nature and extent of the problem, it is equally important for us to help them to appreciate their own role in securing themselves and helping us to solve the problem,” the Minister said.
Dr. Tufton noted that public education around this issue has to be a “critical part of the solution” adding that “we are going to have to also work together and focus, now, on the real solutions”.
The report, he contended, “will also add to the strategies that have to be employed, and, as a consequence, we are engaged and will continue to be so in the years ahead”.
CONTACT: DOUGLAS McINTOSH