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Continue helping citizens who need heart surgery

Cardiac disease is the top cause of mortality in this country. This could increase by 150 per cent in the year 2020, according to research done by top heart researchers.

However, at present, our citizens are suffering from this silent killer which dominates cancer, tuberculosis and other infectious disease as the number one killer. It is important for citizens to know whether they have the risk factors and once they have the disease, the opportunity to prevent it is there, but the road to treatment is a very expensive one and many people may not be able to bear the financial strain.

Scrapping our only reliable means of cardiac surgery is not the way to go. Currently, our Caribbean Heart Care Medcorp is second to none in the Western Hemisphere. The team has had a zero mortality rate to date and the main beneficiaries of this service are those citizens who contribute diligently through the payment of health surcharge and taxes.

These are the people who will suffer the greatest from any hurried decision, for without the aid of this government-assisted programme where would they have to turn to?

Minister of Health Fuad Khan has been doing a brilliant job at spearheading his ministry after it has suffered from years of neglect and abuse. The Ministry of Health has in a short period of time tremendously improved and we can see it pushing forward to a brighter future. However, if the minister's decision to disband the Caribbean Heart Care is based on monetary factors alone I believe he may be making a terrible mistake.

It is true that prudence is a formidable tool for our nation to be able to move forward but at what cost to the citizens? In dissolving the Caribbean Heart Care the financial strain to the Government in their subsidies for each procedure would be lessened but what of the patients?

The minister's decision may in the long run be beneficial but, as he himself quoted, "I think I am doing the right thing." Before making a decision as crucial as this one I would suggest all factors are taken into consideration, the financial, the technical and the effect on the citizens.

Councillor Balliram Ramsuchit

St James East District

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