NASSAU, The Bahamas — Forty Bahamians from all walks of life are the first participants in the “Get Well Bahamas” Challenge. An initiative of the Ministry of Health and the National Insurance Board, the Challenge was launched Monday night at Workers House.
Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Hubert A. Minnis said the Get Well Bahamas Challenge is one of the illness prevention strategies included in the National Prescription Chronic Diseases Drug Plan which was launched in summer, 2010.
The Get Well Challenge, as with the National Prescription Drug Plan, is being managed by officials at the National Insurance Board (NIB).
“The National Insurance Board has long been a valued partner in the national healthcare enterprise through its contributions to the construction of clinics and upgrades to our hospital,” Dr. Minnis said.
“Now, NIB is making a further invaluable contribution through its support of prevention strategies through the Healthy People’s Programme which is a subsidiary of the National Prescription Drug Plan.”
The Health Minister commended the 40 persons included in the Challenge, adding that their inclusion has placed them “at the forefront of the national prevention movement.”
“This is about more than just competing and winning,” Dr. Minnis said.
“This is about your life. If you are successful, you will be winning a better quality of life for yourselves.
“By sticking to the programme; by giving it your all, your persistence will encourage more and more persons to undertake the Challenge and give hope for a brighter, healthier future for our country,” Dr. Minnis added.
The Health Minister said sound, national health is a factor of national productivity and that national productivity, is dependent upon the health quality of the workforce.
“It is therefore a primary concern for the Government of The Bahamas to make provisions for safeguarding the health of our people to ensure a good and sustainable future for all.”
Dr. Minnis said the prevention strategies included in the Get Well Bahamas Challenge will help to provide an early attack on the behaviours that lead to chronic, non-communicable diseases which have become the leading causes for poor health and death in The Bahamians. Recent health statistics show that one in every three Bahamians is affected by one or more chronic, non-communicable disease.
“Given the increasing level of chronic, non-communicable disease in this country, every Bahamian has to take personal interest in his or her health and make a commitment to improving and maintaining it,” Dr. Minnis said.
“For this to happen, we need to change mindsets and behaviours as regards to health,” Dr. Minnis added. Dr. Minnis commended officials at the National Insurance Board, officials of the Healthy People’s Programme and their external partners for what he called the “successful conception, design, development, promotion and ongoing management of this far-reaching initiative.”
“I also commend the many persons who applied to take part in the Get Well Bahamas Challenge. You have shown that you are willing to take responsibility for your health and well-being and accept the hard work and sacrifice it will take to achieve an optimum level of health,” Dr. Minnis added.
The Get Well Bahamas Challenge is a one-of-a- kind opportunity for 40 persons between the ages of 18-60 and who suffer from obesity and/or one of several key chronic, non-communicable diseases, to improve their health by receiving 12 weeks of health and wellness coaching with a focus on behaviour modification and proper nutrition.
They will also receive 12 weeks of personal fitness training, three times per week including a three-month gym membership; initial health screening and health risk assessment and screening during the three-month period, all free of charge.
By Matt Maura
Bahamas Information Services