Bahamas Expands Telemedicine Initiative

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - July 15, 2011

Above: Minister of Health, Dr Hubert Minnis, Dr Akos Tatar of the Fresh Creek District, Dr Colin Bullard, Director of Emergency Services at Princess Margaret Hospital and South Andros MP Picewell Forbes (BIS Photo: Patrick Hanna)

As part of an initiative to help bring medical services to the Bahamas’ many islands, the community of Fresh Creek in Andros became the second of the Bahamas’ “family islands” to receive so-called telemedicine capability following the launch of a dermatology clinic.

The opening of the clinic came five months after Bahamian officials performed an inspection at the Fresh Creek Community Clinic. Marsh Harbour in Abaco was the first Family Island to receive telemedicine.

According to Health Minister Dr Hubert Minnis, the expansion is part of “determined efforts to bridge the islands of the Bahamas” medically.

The programme allows specialist physicians of the Accident and Emergency Department of the Princess Margaret Hospital to assess, examine and treat patients in “real time.”

It also reduces travel for patients, and thus cuts costs, Minnis said.

“Prior to today, those individuals, if they wanted to see the specialists, would have had to fly to Nassau, book accommodation and try to organise and appointment,” Minnis said. “But that will now be a thing of the past, because they can remain here in Fresh Creek and be assessed by specialist physicians in New Providence.”

Minnis said he saw no reason why the programme could not be expanded to other Caribbean countries and additional Bahamian islands.

“That would afford us the opportunity to make the Bahamas the health magnet of the Caribbean,” he said.

–Bahamas Information Service

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