KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, March 19, IWN — Ever wondered what a prime minister might check for if s/he visits your home?
Well, if Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves visits your home, he is likely to check your bathroom plumbing and medicine cabinet.
Gonsalves, speaking on Monday in Bequia when the Port Elizabeth Health Centre was opened, restated that too much medicine is wasted in this country.
Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Finance, said that while about $6.5 million dollars is budgeted annually for the Central Medical Stores, in late November the Ministry of Health sends a special warrant for $1 million to $1.5 million for pharmaceuticals and medical supplies.
“The numbers just go crazy,” Gonsalves said.
“Now, because I am a man who goes about the country, and, naturally, if you are a man who goes all over, then naturally you will have to go into people’s homes, because you have to use the bathroom.
“Now, there two things I observe when I go into most homes: one, the poor quality of plumbing,” Gonsalves said. “The quality of plumbing needs to be better.”
He said that in some homes one has to fix the float or turn on the tap before using the toilet.
“… because if you keep it (the tap) on all the time, the water keeps running and because it is metred, you will buss the budget.
“But, the other thing which I do, when I go to the sink to wash my hands, invariably, over the sink is a cabinet and I am invariably nosy enough to open the cabinet.
“Now, if when I am coming to use your bathroom you say don’t open your cabinet, I won’t open your cabinet.
“But when I open it, you have enough drugs there to fill a drugstore. You know that. Well, we have to stop that. Maybe the doctors prescribe too much drugs. I don’t know if that is one of the modern trends among doctors…” Gonsalves said.
He said some people go to different doctors with the same ailment but said the Government is trying to use the medical information system — which hasn’t panned out fully as yet — to save money.
With the system, doctors will be able to see medication prescribed to various persons at various state-owned healthcare facilities.
Gonsalves said the Government spends 13-14 per cent of the annual budget on health.
“So, we have to save money, we cant throw it away,” he said.