Barbados Cancer epidemic: A major challenge in itself, Cancer, is now unfortunately, becoming a rising problem in Barbados. On 4th February 2023, on World Cancer Day thousands of bajans gathered on the streets to call for action on the cancer problem of the Barbados.
Timely diagnosis is very significant to tackle this problem, so that the patient can have timely treatment. Sadly, Barbados doesn’t have that.
Shortage of Medical Equipment
It has often been argued that Barbados spends a lot on the medical sector. But, there is a massive brain drain and understaffing. In December, hundreds of nurses in Barbados from the Unity Workers’ Union (UWU) went on strike to demand better staffing and working conditions. The strike has caused disruptions in the work of Barbados’ two major hospitals leading to a temporary return of retired nurses to work.
In addition, Barbados itself doesn’t produce any medical equipment. It has to rely largely on nations like Canada and the USA for aid and assistance in the medical sector.
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Rising Cancer Cases
There have been countless reports that prove the fact that for Barbados, Cancer is becoming an epidemic. As per a report from the Barbados Cancer Society (BCS), there has been a rapid increase in new breast cancer cases. Another report reveals that thousands of Barbadian men as young as 40 have a specific DNA molecule gene that predisposes them to the development of prostate cancer.
In contrast to most other cancers, prostate cancer typically affects older men and has a low mortality rate; however, in men of African descent, it often affects younger men and is more aggressive.
Another worrying factor is the reluctance of people to get tested or treated for cancer. Bajans are occasionally required to pay a thousand dollars more for treatment. Patients are occasionally made to pay as much as $80 000. And because it’s expensive, patients do not call for help and support.
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Other discussions have also raised the possibility that citizens’ use of fertilizer in Barbados is unregulated. This is not surprising considering how France and other developed nations supply harmful pesticides and fertilizers to these small Caribbean nations. Due to the reason that these chemicals cause cancer, they are prohibited in these bigger nations. But, they are still supplied in the Caribbean. Therefore, there has been an increase in cancer incidence in the Caribbean.
Barbados’ lax attitude towards this approaching epidemic is concerning. Though it is commendable that Ms. Mottley is focusing on holding the West responsible for the miseries of the Caribbean and specifically Barbados; it is also important for her to handle these matters at home carefully.
“Prevention is better than cure” and Ms. Mottley should begin working on this before it gets too late.
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