Pathway to Wellness - PTW

 

Rationale

Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) are an epidemic in the Bahamas, causing 60% of all deaths and affects half of all people in hospital. NCDs account for half of all deaths of people 45 years and older and has placed an increased strain on health resources PM Ingraham, UN Speech, Sept. 19, 2011).

Goals

The Health and Wellness Consortium is a comprehensive approach to address health and wellness on Eleuthera; from coordination of research, policy development, strategic planning, and development of a wellness centre.

Purpose

To encourage all stakeholders to come together to carry out joint assessment and execution of plan.

 

Projects

Eleuthera Imaging Program

Initiative: 
Pathway to Wellness - PTW
Rationale: 

Statistics state that breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women in the Bahamas. The island of Eleuthera is no exception. According to Judith Hurley, M.D, Breast Cancer Unit, University of Miami, nearly 45% of Bahamian women who are diagnosed with breast cancer already are at the late stage, compared to only about 12% of female breast cancer patients in the United States. Further research from Dr. Hurley reveals that 24 -27% of Bahamian women have mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 breast cancer genes, putting them at a higher risk for the disease. This percentage is greater than the world’s highest reported rate of breast cancer, which was recorded in women of Ashkenazi Jewish descent at 11%.  Bahamian women are diagnosed with breast cancer at an average age of 42 compared to their U.S. counterparts who are diagnosed at an average age of 62. Statistics reveal that 43% of Bahamian women diagnosed with breast cancer die before the age of 50 while the average age of death in American women is 65.

Purpose: 

Early detection is key to surviving breast cancer; therefore it is important for Bahamian women to be screened for irregularities in their breasts. In order to get a mammogram, women have to travel to New Providence which on average costs about $500. A needs assessment completed by Emory University’s Global Health Institute indicates that there are 3,000 women over 30 on Eleuthera, which is the suggested age to for Bahamian women to begin yearly screenings. From this number, 57% are not able to afford to travel to New Providence to get a mammogram. This is due to the fact that the unemployment rate on Eleuthera, especially among women, is high and many women are not able to afford medical insurance.

The purpose of Eleuthera Imaging Program is to provide mammogram and ultrasound services on Eleuthera, especially for those women and people in general who are unable to afford to travel off island to seek such services.

Approach: 
  • Bring awareness to breast cancer and the importance of screening through education
  • Retrofit building space to house equipment
  • Procure mammogram and ultrasound machines for the island of Eleuthera
Collaborators: 

Rotary Clubs of The Bahamas

Cancer Society of Eleuthera

Associated Member Groups: 
The Cancer Society of Eleuthera

Wemyss Bight Emergency Operations Center (WBEOC)

Initiative: 
Pathway to Wellness - PTW
Rationale: 

In recent months it has become more evident why such a provision is so essential. On June 18th, 2011 Ms Lena Brown, an 83-year-old of Green Castle, lost her life to a house fire. This incident has placed a stronger emphasis on the need for an EOC in the most southern communities of Eleuthera. As Wemyss Bight is in a central location to the settlements of Cape Eleuthera, Deep Creek, Green Castle, Cotton Bay, John Millar’s and Bannerman Town, it is believed that this EOC will increase response time to any emergency in these areas and improve SEEP’s overall efficiency. In the wake of a tragic loss of life it would be an even greater tragedy if no effort is made to move toward offering more assistance to the communities of South Eleuthera.  

Purpose: 

To provide an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) central to the more southern settlements of Eleuthera that will allow for more timely responses to emergencies in these areas.

Approach: 

Construct an EOC in Wemyss Bight, equipped with ambulance and fire truck and train volunteers in the area to provide fire and medical transport services.

Associated Member Groups: 
South Eleuthera Emergency Partners (SEEP)

Cancer Society Wellness Center

Initiative: 
Pathway to Wellness - PTW
Rationale: 

According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), “The Bahamas is experiencing a shift in its epidemiologic patterns away from deaths due to communicable diseases and toward those caused by chronic non-communicable diseases, AIDS and AIDS-related complex, and accidents, violence, and poisonings. These changes, coupled with increasing health care costs, have served to highlight the importance of health education and promotion as a vital component of the health care system.”

As with the rest of the world, The Bahamas is battling against preventable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, and Heart disease, and other chronic non-communicable diseases such as cancer, hypertension and diabetes. The fight is conducted with the blunted weapons of limited funding and overworked healthcare providers. This is where The One Eleuthera Foundation and the wider community can assist, by helping to reduce the incidence of morbidity (illness) and mortality (death) and helping to support the wounded healers who are the healthcare professionals.

Purpose: 

To develop and market the Cancer Society of Eleuthera as a Wellness Center and rentable space for community and civic gatherings and events.

Approach: 

Extend CSE building and renovate existing areas to provide a calm, peaceful atmosphere which will serve as a source for cancer awareness through dissemination of information, cancer counseling and therapy for persons affected by cancer, and promoting healthy lifestyles through healthy eating and exercise. Further, CSEWC facilities will be available for rent to the public for various events and activities to assist in the sustainability of CSE.

Associated Member Groups: 
The Cancer Society of Eleuthera

Step Up to Health: 6 Weeks to Wellness Boot Camp

Initiative: 
Pathway to Wellness - PTW
Rationale: 

According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), “The Bahamas is experiencing a shift in its epidemiologic patterns away from deaths due to communicable diseases and toward those caused by chronic non-communicable diseases, AIDS and AIDS-related complex, and accidents, violence, and poisonings. These changes, coupled with increasing health care costs, have served to highlight the importance of health education and promotion as a vital component of the health care system.” (Pan American Health Organization Country Profile)

Along with the other islands of The Bahamas, Eleuthera faces a significantly high incidence of breast cancer, as well as other cancers and the challenges of the chronic non-communicable diseases (CNCD) of heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes. The fight is conducted with the blunted weapons of limited funding and overworked healthcare providers. This is where The One Eleuthera Foundation and the wider community can assist, by helping to reduce the incidence of morbidity (illness) and mortality (death) and helping to support the wounded healers who are the healthcare professionals.

Purpose: 

To enable participants to adopt healthy self-management behaviours, reverse disease trends and create a healthier community through diet, exercise and healthy lifestyle changes.

Approach: 

The program will focus on children and adults that may suffer from ailments such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, gout, arthritis, insomnia, thyroid disease, lupus, fibroids and/or polycystic ovarian syndrome and a host of other health issues.  These persons will participate in vigorous activities such as aerobics, body weight exercises, crunches, endurance exercises, skipping, weight lifting, abdominal exercises and receive nutritional counseling to assist them with proper eating habits and ways of preparing healthy, proportional meals.

Associated Member Groups: 
Center for Heritage & Society
South Eleuthera Emergency Partners (SEEP)
The Cancer Society of Eleuthera
Family Medicine Center

Breast Cancer Community Outreach

Initiative: 
Pathway to Wellness - PTW
Rationale: 

Over the years, cancer has been a leading cause of death in The Bahamas. The island of Eleuthera is no exception. Research conducted by Dr Judith Hurley, Medical Director of the Hematology/Oncology Clinics and the Medical Oncology Consultant for the Taylor Breast Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital, indicates that The Bahamas’ incidence of inherited breast cancer, recorded to be between 24-27%, is twice as high as the highest rate recorded in high risk groups around the world. Statistics reveal that 43% of Bahamian women diagnosed with breast cancer die before the age of 50 while the average age of death in American women is 65.

The One Eleuthera Foundation and its partners are working diligently to effectuate change so as to reduce these alarming results. All efforts lead toward decreasing the rate of such diseases with our “Pathway to Wellness” initiatives. Board members and volunteers donate their time freely to the advancement of OEF’s mission and have an impressive track record which confirms their dedication and contributions to its success. Due to partner efforts more persons are stepping up and are more open about discussing their diagnosis. However, Eleuthera is still experiencing remarkably high rates of late stage diagnosis, which confirms the need for and our desire to provide further community outreach.

Purpose: 

Provide outreach services to communities throughout Eleuthera, which will assist in increasing the population’s knowledge of cancer and other life threatening diseases, promote early detection, provide aid in the treatment of and recovery from such ailments, support cancer patients and their families to help them cope with the disease and keep a record of their interactions with cancer patients to aid in the accumulation of accurate cancer statistics for Eleuthera.

Approach: 

Decrease the high rate of women affected by breast cancer

Promote early detection to reduce late stage diagnosis throughactivities that will educate the public about cancer, early detection, treatment and survival

Develop a database for the collect of data on Eleutheran women who have or those at high risk for developing cancer for the production of local statistics to determine cancer trends

Appoint a fulltime staff member as Community Outreach Coordinator (COC) to ensure the above goals and objectives are met

Collaborators: 

Susan G. Komen

Cancer Society of Eleuthera

Rotary Club of Eleuthera

Emory University Nell Hodgsen Woodruff School of Nursing

Department of Public Health

The Pathway to Wellness: Reversing the Trends Symposium

Initiative: 
Pathway to Wellness - PTW
Rationale: 

According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), “The Bahamas is experiencing a shift in its epidemiologic patterns away from deaths due to communicable diseases and toward those caused by chronic non-communicable diseases, AIDS and AIDS-related complex, and accidents, violence, and poisonings. These changes, coupled with increasing health care costs, have served to highlight the importance of health education and promotion as a vital component of the health care system.”

As with the rest of the world, The Bahamas is battling against preventable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, and Heart disease, and other chronic non-communicable diseases such as cancer, hypertension and diabetes. The fight is conducted with the blunted weapons of limited funding and overworked healthcare providers. This is where The One Eleuthera Foundation and the wider community can assist, by helping to reduce the incidence of morbidity (illness) and mortality (death) and helping to support the wounded healers who are the healthcare professionals.

Purpose: 

The Health and Wellness Symposium seeks to bring together innovators from various organizations to gather a sample of insights and identify overlapping priority areas across organizations working to create a collaborative, PROACTIVE, Health & Wellness Secretariat.

Approach: 

Our partners are joining forces to formally adopt the Ministry of Health’s Healthy Lifestyles Initiative and develop and agree upon a strategy that will eventually lead to a reversal in the trend of increasing Non Communicable Disease-associated deaths. We feel that the work of our partners have brought great care and support to our residents and now we want to coordinate and strengthen our efforts to bring about even more measureable progress.

THE GUIDING FOCAL POINTS

  • Adopt the Ministry of Health’s Healthy Lifestyles Plan (attached) and advance a way forward. A white paper/draft plan is under development and will be made available before the symposium for feedback from participants. 
  • Provide opportunity for further discussion and follow-up opportunities to refine the draft strategic plan.
  • Create awareness of the on-going work of the various health initiatives on Eleuthera, including the Cancer Society, Diabetic Advocacy, Healthy Lifestyles Initiative and other positive trends on the island, and highlight the challenges faced by nurses and other health care professionals in carrying out their mandate. 
  • Emphasize the need for a Wellness/Care/Hospice Center and begin discussion. 
  • Affirm and solicit every facet of health and wellness, from research on causes, to treatment, to palliation in the final stages of a disease.
  • Develop recommendations on how to achieve goals and provide staff coordination. 
  • Develop a working critical path/strategic plan for a health & nutrition campaign and movement specifically designed for Eleuthera with the view of it being used as a prototype for other islands and countries.
  •  Encompass the natural resources and agricultural "bread basket" of our island. Identify areas of interest and concern surrounding non-communicable diseases  to encompass: nutrition, behavioural changes, exercise, education and programme sustainability.
  • Explore funding opportunities.

Past Symposiums:

1st Annual Pathway to Wellness: Reversing the Trends Symposium - Focus Non Communicable Diseases
2nd Annual Pathway to Wellness: Reversing the Trends Symposium - Focus Breast Cancer
3rd Annual Pathway to Wellness: Reversing the Trends Symposium - Focus Diabetes
4th Annual Pathway to Wellness: Reversing the Trends Symposium - Focus Cardiovascular Health

Associated Member Groups: 
The Cancer Society of Eleuthera
Family Medicine Center

A Shared Vision

The Shared Vision for South Eleuthera, which was first commissioned by Friends of Lighthouse Point to develop a sustainable plan for Lighthouse Point and other special heritage and conservation sites on Eleuthera, inspired the formation of One Eleuthera.

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