Minister of Health Dr. the Hon. Duane Sands said the Public Hospitals Authority Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre continues to make strides and history with first time accomplishments including a focused intent of dispelling the myths of mental illness. “Sandilands is making the community more comfortable and accommodating of persons with mental illness,” Dr. Sands said during the Visit of Governor General Her Excellency the Most Hon. Dame Marguerite Pindling to the Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre, Friday, December 7, 2018. He explained that one such first is the recent “Gambling Addiction Symposium” held in October 2018. “Hundreds attended, and received valuable information regarding recognizing and making effective interventions with respect to problem gambling and gambling addiction.”
Dr. Sands added that the successful suicide prevention movie night was another important first that helped to raise awareness about suicide and attempted suicide among the general public. He said, “I believe it is important to note that these and other successful achievements were realized under the able leadership of Mrs. Ruth T. Albury, Hospital Administrator, to whom we also pay homage, and recognize today for her valuable, and dedicated services to healthcare in The Bahamas.” Dr. Sands also wished the very best to Hospital Administrator Mary Walker who will be replaying Mrs. Albury who is retiring. “I trust that she will enjoy the full support of the staff and partners of the Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre as she leads this institution to higher levels of service and achievement.”
The Health Minister said the Government recognizes the importance of mental healthcare and tackling psychiatric, neurological, or substance use diseases head-on. “We have ensured the sustainability of mental illness treatment, by incorporating essential drugs in the National Insurance Board’s Drug Plan, and I assure the public that they will also be included in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHI). “The NHI Plan has established a new standard of health benefits, as it ensures affordable, comprehensive health coverage is provided to every Bahamian.” He noted that in October, the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) launched a 45-day consultation period to discuss proposed changes to the NHI Bahamas Program, which the goal or objective of this plan is to share responsibility between the Government, employees, and citizens.