Barbados set to allow organ harvesting for transplants

Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – The Barbados government is working on new legislation that will provide the legal framework for organs to be harvested from donors after death.

Over the last 30 years, about 19 transplants had been performed at the country’s sole public hospital, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, but these transplants have been limited to organs from live donors.

Minister of Health and Wellness, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic said Cabinet has approved a policy document prepared by the ministry to guide organ transplantation services in Barbados.

He said that with the high incidence of non-communicable diseases in Barbados, the new policy initiative would be very beneficial to Barbadians experiencing medical challenges.

Meanwhile, the minister announced that Cabinet had given approval for the ministry to contract the services of the Health Economics Unit of the University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus, to execute a comprehensive review of all medical services that are offered within the public health sector.

“So, we will cost every single operation, every single service which will then allow us to see what the true cost of health care really is, and using this information it would facilitate the planning and financing of health care in Barbados,” he explained.

Bostic said that this follows an earlier Cabinet decision to create a position for a Health Finance Commissioner. He revealed that the position was filled, and everything was in place to complete the costing exercise within six months and move ahead with developing health care financing within the country.

The Minister also addressed the nursing shortage, and revealed that all registered nurses and nursing assistants on the island who had applied to the QEH and the health services in general, were currently being interviewed.

A six-member team, led by the Chairman of the Board of the QEH, will also be travelling to Ghana from August 13 to 26, to pursue the recruitment of nurses from that country. They will be examining the system in Ghana in terms of certification and registration to make sure that it is in line with Barbados’ requirements, after which, the recruiting process will begin.