Ophthalmologist explains impact of Glaucoma on health sector

glaucomaConsultant Ophthalmologist, Dr Hazel Shillingford-Ricketts said that Glaucoma has a significant impact on the health system since most of the newer and more effective eye medications are not free.

She made that remark during an interview in light of Glaucoma week observed from March 6-12.

“Glaucoma in Dominica is very prevalent, it is estimated to be about twelve percent because a very high percentage of our population are elderly people and we’re also black, which is another risk factor. Being black and ageing are two of the major risk factors and so you would expect Glaucoma to be very prevalent in our population,” she noted.

She stated this is having an impact on the health sector.

“It has a significant impact because the patients require medication to control their disease and although we provide some of the medication free of charge in the primary health sector most of the newer and more effective eye medications are not provided free of charge, and so the patients who have to use this medication, they have to purchase it,” she said. “Now they can either purchase it at the Central Medical Stores at the hospital or privately in the private pharmacies.”

She hopes in the near future the medication will be provided free of charge.

However, she said, it is not without a cost.

“We have already looked at the costing and it will increase our drug budget at the hospital by over a quarter million-dollars in addition to the other cost that are incurred to provide care at the hospital,” she explained.

According to her, attempts were made to assist patients by providing the medication at cost price at the hospital which is about 50 percent of the cost obtained in the private sector.

However, she stated, that there is still a disadvantage, “because they have to pay for it, it is only available at Central Medical Stores.”

“So irrespective of where the patients live in Dominica they have to find themselves to Roseau to buy the medication and that can be a deterrent to obtaining these forms of medication,” Dr. Shillingford-Ricketts stated.

Part of the activities for Glaucoma week include an address from the Minister of Health, Dr. Kenneth Darroux, radio programmes, lectures to patients, an exhibition at St Joseph displaying the various aspects of Glaucoma at St Joseph Health District and screening of patients.

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  1. lawman
    March 13, 2016
  2. Face the Facts
    March 12, 2016

    Some years ago I happened to see a Vitamin Bible in a store. I bought it for approximately $4.00. Today, it could cost much more. From time to time I refer to it. It has some excellent information on health and Vitamins and what we should eat for the illness and symptoms. They are, especially vegetables.
    The author advised to see your doctor. He is not taking over the doctor’s work.
    Recently I opened the book and came across information for eyes and night vision. He recommended Vitamin A. These vitamins could be obtained in fruits and vegetables.
    I bought a bottle from the drug store. I have only taken one but I will take more as time goes on. The print is small and I assume, it is one a day.
    For those who use computers and now with digital letters, I said with those small letters, these enterprises as also Microsoft want to spoil our eyes.
    The instruction on the label is small. I plan to write my MP and the Health Minister about it.

  3. Dan Tanner
    March 12, 2016

    Dominicans eat too much sugar.

  4. Zandoli
    March 11, 2016

    I can more than afford to pay for my medication. However because of medical insurance provided by my employer it does not cost me anything when I pick up medication at the pharmacy. Sometimes when I think of the people back home who earn less than I and have to pay more for all these things, I sometimes feel a sense of guilt.

    I wish the world was a fairer place.

      March 11, 2016

      The government is there to do what the people can’t do for themselves. I will like to see a Skerrit care implemented like OBAMA CARE that will progressively, if not corrupted get us to %100 coverage for all Dominicans in not to distance future. Nevertheless we know who the friends of the insurance companies are and the elections they finance.

      • Face the Facts
        March 12, 2016

        Are you in the US? Obamacare is not so popular among everyone. A new government, if it is not Democrat, plans to repeal it and get rid of it for a better health care system.
        As I heard, some US people especially the Media criticized Canada’s Health Care System. I wrote a particular US Media about it and voiced my objections.
        We have a better health care system than the US. It is not perfect and sometimes there are cut-backs but those who cannot afford private insurance do not have to go searching for an insurance company. This health care system benefits every resident. No one is refused medical care. We have OHIP – Ontario Hospital Insurance Plan. Each Province has a different name. Many flock to Canada for one of these reasons.
        Those who are in a low income bracket, can get free eye glasses and even dental care.

    • blue rivers
      March 11, 2016

      Feel free to make some donations toward what issue you feel led bro.

    • Face the Facts
      March 12, 2016

      Pertaining to a fairer place, I do think all of us feel that way in various respects. So much more could be stated about that.

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