Dr Fenton Ferguson – How Many Lives Does He Have???

I do concur that more heads should roll within the Ministry of Health. We can certainly start with those featured in this photo. However, I do believe that Managers can be chosen for respective positions poorly. A manager may not be suited for a position despite their obvious qualifications. A non-performing manager may arise out of an assigned position they were not suited for and not necessarily from their skills based asset. In my view reassignment is not a bad thing, as one is given an opportunity again to prove themselves.  After all Dr Ferguson did make some accomplishments whilst in the position. Unfortunately his collapse was due to his consistent approach aided by his team of doing little with other crucial aspects within Jamaica’s health-care system and more on camouflaging.

I will again state that not all Doctors are equal, so if it is you are saying you need a medical doctor to become the Minister of Health, I will say the possibility exists that you may get the same result as with Dr Ferguson and his team.  Managers must be able to get things done and done in a timely manner without passing the buck. They must equip themselves with those who have the necessary expertise in the chosen field.  A manager does not have to be knowledgeable in all areas of that which he is charged.

What I believe the majority of our leaders in Parliament suffer from is ‘diarrhea of the mouth’. They should all have PR representatives (Public Relations Officers) whose role is to prepare their speeches before they take front and centre stage with the media. Unfortunately the egos that govern both men and women preclude them from such whereas back in the day PRs were highly sought. The reality is not ALL are great public speakers like the Obama’s, Clinton’s, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela etc. They make up but a few on Planet Earth and on our small Island we have very few who are in that league. As such we tend to turn an already fragile situation into a full blast tornado.

Dr Ferguson has another opportunity to perform in a Ministry entirely different from that of Health. We will see how many lives he has if he non-performs once again. Surely there is absolutely nothing wrong in him being reassigned in my humble opinion.


Not only Ferguson should be fired in health ministry – doctor

 (Jamaica Gleaner) Sunday | November 8, 2015
The outgoing Minister of Health Dr. Fenton Ferguson (right) seen with Dr. Marion Bullock-Ducasse (left), chief medical officer in the health ministry and permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Kevin Harvey

Well-known medical doctor and social commentator Michael Abrahams says Dr Fenton Ferguson should not be the only person removed from the health ministry.

Amid an avalanche of criticisms that span last year’s chikungunya outbreak to the four bacterial infection outbreaks at two of the country’s main public hospitals this year that resulted in the deaths of 19 neonates, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller yesterday announced that Ferguson has been reassigned to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.

Abrahams charges that under Ferguson’s leadership, the health ministry failed to effectively communicate with the Jamaican people and did not make decisions that were in their best interest of the population. Further, the physician indicates that other key technocrats in the health ministry should also share the blame.

As a result, he says the ministry’s team of medical advisors should be examined and at least one of them should step aside, but stopped short of calling names.

Ferguson is to be replaced by Horace Dalley, who has served as minister with responsibility for the Public Service since 2011. The changes take effect tomorrow.

In the meantime, Abrahams contends that transferring Ferguson to another ministry is disturbing.

While commending Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller for removing him from the health ministry, Abrahams says Ferguson may be carrying incompetence to another department of government.

He says the outgoing health minister has shown that he is not a strong, effective and competent leader and expresses concern that in light of the glaring evidence of poor management, he is being transferred to another government ministry.

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Rich but malnourished – Well-off Jamaicans eating their way to illness


(Jamaica Gleaner) Sunday | November 8, 2015
 ST MICHAEL, Barbados:

More than 40 years after implementing various interventions to address chronic malnutrition among the poorest members of the population, the region is now struggling to stem the growing incidence of malnutrition among more affluent Caribbean nationals.

Researchers have concluded that more persons in the region who can afford to eat better are now buying their way into malnutrition – a result of poor food choices – with obesity now emerging as the new form of malnutrition.

The research has identified this bizarre phenomenon as the major contributor to a spike in chronic non-communicable diseases (CNCD) among Caribbean populations.

The document, ‘Hunger and nutrition from bellyful to body fuel’, a publication of the Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture (IICA), presents research findings that show clearly malnutrition is no longer synonymous with undernutrition.

“Undernutrition is no longer automatically associated with the poor, downtrodden and hungry. Malnutrition is now increasingly being associated with the other extreme – over-nutrition – which is linked to rising affluence, availability, easy access and affordability of a diverse range of food products generally referred to as ’empty calories’,” nutrition experts have concluded.

“This has resulted from a rise in consumption of a diet high in refined carbohydrates, fats and salt, and a fall in consumption of fruits, vegetables, roots, tubers, legumes and nuts,” the nutrition experts further explained.

According to nutritionist Lisa Hunt: “Such changes in diet and lifestyles, referred to as ‘nutrition transition’, are a direct and undesirable consequence of economic development. Such transitions are usually measured by expanding urbanisation and globalisation which enabled access to a range of ‘Western diet’ food products.

“These foods tend to be high in fat, sugar, salt, refined carbohydrates, and low in fibre, usually processed, fast and convenience foods.”


Empty calories


The document which was released at the Caribbean Pacific Agri-Food Forum held at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill campus last week warns that while those foods referred to as ’empty calories’ do satisfy hunger, they do not provide the body with the fuel it needs to power the various internal organs and external functions, the consequences of which are adversely impacting the overall regional health status.

“It is the overconsumption of such foods that has caused a sharp spike in CNCDs among Caribbean populations. Even more worrisome is that CNCDs are now strongly linked to a rise in adult diseases, among infants and children, particularly diabetes,” the researchers noted.

In a review of school-feeding programmes in selected Caribbean countries, Robert Best (2012) observed that the type of meals served consisted mainly of bread made of white flour, with cheese or butter, rice and skimmed milk.

Best said attention to nutritional content during the early stages and attempts to make the meal colourful or attractive to the children were virtually non-existent.

With imports still dominating the regional food system at an estimated US$5 billion per year, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago, Haiti and The Bahamas accounting for most of this bill, the document notes that both extremes of malnutrition can exist in a country at the same time.


Fats and oils


But much of the decline in health has come at the hands of Caribbean people, with the consumption of fats and oils estimated at almost twice the recommended level in 2002.

This was attributed to the fact that several popular dishes and bakery products make regular use of vegetable oils, margarine, butter and shortening, especially for fried foods.

As a first step to addressing this health catastrophe, ‘Hunger and nutrition from bellyful to body fuel’ urges Caribbean nationals at the individual, household and national levels to ‘fuel up’ on a mix of foods that have the greatest nutritional value and not ‘fill up’ on empty calorie foods.

“Although they are attractively packaged, tasty and filling, empty calorie foods, often called ‘junk foods’, contain little or no nutritional value. Choosing to consume too much empty calorie foods is detrimental to good health,” the nutritionist warned.

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Still Want Free Health-Care In Jamaica?? – Freeness Mentality Brings Forth Casualties!!!

Notwithstanding neither the PNP nor the JLP has ever put health-care on the front burner.  The ‘chickens have now come home to roost’ under the PNP governance and so as usual ‘politiking’ is in full play. 

No political party has cared enough about health-care; the Doctors care is subjective as there is always private practice.  How do we move from chatter to action?  Where do we go from here?  A total overhaul from top to bottom is necessary.  When the basic tenant for cleanliness is ignored, ‘wi corner well dark like a coffin’.  We need a health-care leadership that is non political made up of people who care as if their own lives depended on it.  When you imagine that there is no other care other than public hospitals and health centres, then just maybe you will move and operate from a position of truth, simply because you have no other option.  No other option available for yourself, your loved ones and your family.

Sad to say it is freedom of choice that causes many to govern without any regard for the massive.  The privilege of options available that sustains them in a position functioning with total oblivion and a ‘downcare’ attitude to the basic and necessary needs of human kind, which is the right to decent health-care and the right to an education.  Both political parties have scored zero on health-care I opine.



(Jamaica Gleaner) Saturday | November 7, 2015
Michael Stewart, chairman of the Southern Regional Health Authority.
Leon Gordon, chairman of the North Eastern Regional Health Authority.
Andrei Cooke
Calvin Brown, chairman of the Western Regional Health Authority.
NO SURPRISES. That is what one doctor told The Gleaner yesterday, following the eventual release of the much-anticipated audit report of the four regional health authorities (RHAs).

READ: Health audit report

“I got a chance to look through them briefly when they were posted on the website today (yesterday), and frankly, I saw nothing that surprised me. In fact, we have been saying a lot of this from long ago,” she said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“When [Dr Alfred] Dawes and his team held that press conference earlier this year, he was saying all these things, so we all know this. Every health-care worker who has to work in the public hospitals knows what we are up against.”

She continued, “Frankly, I don’t know why they wouldn’t release this because if persons don’t know what is happening, how can we fix the problems, how can we get help to fix the problems? I just don’t know how we could expect to continue like it’s business as usual.”

She said she wished to “stay off the radar, for fear of being victimised like Dawes”.

In May, then Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson had directed the four regional health authorities to conduct a comprehensive audit of their operations, following outcry from both health-care workers and the general public about the poor state of the public-health facilities. The Jamaica Medical Doctors Association, of which Dawes was president at the time, also held a press conference to reveal several of the challenges health-care workers were up against.

After receiving the report in August, a summary was released in September, with a decision made not to release the full report because the health ministry did not want the public to have negative views of the implicated public-health facilities. A decision was made to release the audit report after intense pressure from various quarters.

The audit mainly examined the maternity/obstetrics, operating theatre, neonatal unit, intensive care unit/high dependency unit, accident and emergency (MONIA), in the North East Regional Health Authority (NERHA), South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA), Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA), and the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA).



Overall, the four individual reports revealed that a lot of the problems and challenges were overlapping across the RHAs, and several recommendations were made to correct the issues that were uncovered.

In the SERHA, whose chairman is Dr Andrei Cooke, it was revealed that the operating theatres were outdated, having been built several years ago, and were badly in need of upgrades. The structural issues also led to other problems, which made them unsterile.

“The theatre doors at the majority of facilities need urgent replacement. It is quite easy to see through the space between the doors when they are ‘closed’, compromising sterility in the rooms. Some doors have holes, hinges are rusted, and others are infested with termites. Subjectively, the operating theatre lights are dull and some fixtures have absent and non-functional bulbs. In general, the operating theatre suites need to be assessed by the engineers to check on structural integrity,” the report said.

It also noted that standard operating procedures were not adhered to for cleaning and portering “in any of the institutions visited”. The reuse of disposable tubes and airways was also a common feature throughout the region.

The report also said: “Enema is no longer provided by the pharmacies, hence women are delivered without; the result being foul odour in the delivery room, staff health being affected, and possible infection of the neonates.”

In the NERHA, whose chairman is Leon Gordon, among the major findings the audit revealed were that the supply of a number of critical pharmaceutical were at times less than 50 per cent of demand. The critical shortage, the report said, was due to insufficient supplies from the National Health Fund. It was also revealed that staff did not always adhere to proper procedure and protocol.

In the Michael Stewart-chaired SRHA, key findings were shortage of linen, gowns, and drapes, as well as insufficient supplies in the operating theatres, such as caps, shoes, goggles and face shields. The operating theatres also did not have correct handwashing faucets, as the theatres used manual faucets which requires direct contact with the individuals.

There was also a shortage of drugs, and a need for additional incubators, cots, cardiac monitors, suction machines and infusion pumps in the nurseries.

While in the WRHA, with Calvin G. Brown as chairman, there was a lack of overall general supplies and staff did not always adhere to proper procedures and protocols. It was also revealed that routine microbiological swabbing was not conducted as prescribed.

“The real question now is, what are we going to do to fix these problems?” the general practitioner asked, having worked in both Jamaica’s private- and public-health sectors for more than 25 years.

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‘Pot A Cuss Kettle Black’ – US Apache Versus Bob Marley!!!!

Ku u;  u eva si mi dying trial.  A dis wi come to wen dem deh people a tek black people fi prekey’.

Is there a racial under tone in my ramblings? I leave the experts to weigh in.  One thing I will not do is to apologise for my comments as  I ‘own’ my thoughts and am fully aware of consequence.   With that said US Apache Tribe Leader  must have been aware of his intent and subsequent consequence once he chose to depict himself as Bob Marley in that Halloween ensemble.  If not, sheer  idiocy of his own volition.

Bob Marley, a beautiful soul and strikingly handsome is an ‘Icon’ and will remain so.  The message to be learnt is that bigotry, racism, classism comes and resides in all cultures and is not unique to the ‘white’ man’.  Bob Marley was colourless, his family tree denotes such. ‘Wheel an come again, Apache man.  Di mockery is on u an all those like u’.

I am a born, black and proud Jamaican who needs no apology.

US Apache tribe leader apologises for wearing Bob Marley costume for Halloween

(Jamaica Gleaner) Friday | November 6, 2015

In a picture posted online, San Carlos Apache Chairman Terry Rambler wears dreadlocks, a Marley T-shirt and face paint while flashing a peace sign.
 US SAN CARLOS, Arizona (AP):

Bob Marley

Bob Marley

The leader of an Apache tribe in Arizona has apologised for dressing up as Bob Marley for Halloween and painting his face dark, calling the costume a “poor choice”.

In a picture posted online, San Carlos Apache Chairman Terry Rambler wears dreadlocks, a Marley T-shirt and face paint while flashing a peace sign.

He now says he did not mean to offend anyone but realises he did.

“I will continue to ask my Creator for forgiveness, as I am not perfect, but I realise asking for forgiveness means not repeating the action,” he wrote on his Facebook page.

Arizona civil rights activist Jarrett Maupin said Rambler made a mockery of black people with the costume.

Maupin said it’s hypocritical for Rambler to portray a black man while opposing the Washington Redskins mascot.

Rambler has spoken against the mascot and signed a petition urging the team to change its name.

“The chairman should be ashamed of himself,” Maupin said. “How can someone so, allegedly, conscious of his Native American culture and the plight of other racial minorities dress up in such a ridiculous and racist way?”

Bob Marley and reggae are hugely popular among American Indian tribes because of the music’s political messages decrying oppression.

A painting outside the building housing the FM radio station serving the San Carlos Apache Reservation depicts a smiling Marley alongside the legendary Apache warrior, Geronimo.

The station has a segment on weekday mornings where it plays four Marley songs in a row.

One of Marley’s most famous works is Buffalo Soldier, a song protesting slavery and oppression whose name refers to the US military’s enlistment of black soldiers in the 1800s to fight wars against Indian tribes, including Apaches.

Rambler said he dressed as Marley because he is one of his favourite musicians.

Rambler didn’t respond to messages left through Facebook, and his office said he wouldn’t be back in until next week.

Hundreds of people chimed in online.

Some said Rambler had no reason to apologise and commended him for acknowledging the offence.

Others said he should have known better than to portray himself in blackface at a time Native Americans are fighting cultural appropriation, including in Halloween costumes that often depict them in headdresses, frilled clothing and war paint, and wielding spears and tomahawks.

Maupin urged Rambler to apologise directly to the black community and meet with black leaders.



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Dangers Of Eating Red Meat by Dr Tony Vendryes

For almost 30 years, I have been saying that a plant-based diet has significant health benefits. Now, the World Health Organisation (WHO) research published this past week, confirms that eating red meats, especially processed meats, is a major risk factor for developing cancer.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), all meats obtained from livestock (all mammals, including pigs) are considered red meats because they contain higher levels of the iron pigment myoglobin than non-mammalian meats like chicken or fish.

The WHO findings relate specifically to cancer, but researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health had already shown that red meat consumption could shorten your life. They found that one additional serving of red meat a day contributed to a 13 per cent increased risk of dying, and an added daily serving of processed red meat (a hot dog or two slices of bacon) increased the risk of dying by 20 per cent. A daily serving of red meat boosted the risk of heart disease death by almost 20 per cent and the risk of dying from cancer by 13 per cent.

Other earlier medical research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that heavy consumers of red meat double their risk of developing colon cancer compared to those who eat little red meat. Although the study did not specify, I suspect that heavy red meat eaters probably have at least four times greater risk of colon cancer compared to people who have no red meat at all.

Research on total vegetarians (who consume no animal product) suggests an almost total absence of colon cancer in that group. As colon cancer accounts for 20 per cent of all cancers, these research findings are very important. If doctors had discovered a new drug that would eliminate 20 per cent of the cancer in the world, there would be no end to the media publicity and fanfare it would be given. As another breast cancer awareness month winds down, have you seen any headlines encouraging our ladies to eat more vegetables?

Other investigations also demonstrate the benefit of a plant-based diet against several other cancers as well as other lifestyle-related problems like heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension.

Cancer-Causing Chemical

There is a chemical additive called sodium nitrite that food manufacturers add to virtually all packaged meat products – breakfast sausages, hams, hot dogs, bacon, turkey bacon, bologna, and many more. This chemical gives these meats a reddish colour so they still look fresh and helps extend their shelf life. When you eat it, highly cancer-forming chemicals known as nitrosamines are created in your body. 

Experimental Animals
Bacon has received the most attention as the very high cooking temperatures used to fry bacon are conducive to nitrosamine formation, but barbecued and jerked meats have a similar problem.

Approximately 300 of these compounds have been tested, and 90 per cent of them cause cancer in a wide variety of experimental animals. Since nitrosamines behave the same in human as in animals, it is highly likely that they also cause cancer in humans.

Research published in the journal, Cancer Research showed that children who consumed these chemicals had a quadrupling of brain tumours and a 700 per cent increase in leukaemia.

A University of Hawaii study that tracked the dietary habits of nearly 200,000 people for seven years revealed that the consumption of processed meats containing sodium nitrite caused a 6,700 per cent increase in pancreatic cancer

The Safe Shopper’s Bible (a nutrition handbook) explains that European countries banned the use of nitrite and nitrates in 1997 while the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has allowed their continued use in the USA. Jamaica seems to follow the lead of the US in these matters

The USDA actually tried to ban them from all packaged meats in the 1970s, but their effort was overpowered by the influence of meat-packing companies. So the ingredient is still legal to use, even though it causes cancer.

Higher Risk

Since vitamin C and vitamin E inhibit nitrosamine formation. they are now being added to some cured meats to lower nitrosamine formation.

Other Health Risks

A higher risk of cancer is just one of several health reasons to avoid eating commercial red meat. The saturated animal fat found in red meat contributes to heart disease, atherosclerosis, and other inflammatory disorders.

Commercial red meat contains contaminants such as heavy metals, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and environmental pollutants. These are absorbed into your body when you eat commercial meats.

Getting Off Red Meat

Some readers are already following a plant-based diet, but others of you aren’t sure exactly how to start. You can begin to reduce your consumption of red meat gradually. Experiment with tasty and nutritious vegetarian foods.

It is also useful, though not essential, to do a cleansing of your digestive tract when you are making a significant change in your diet.

That is an easy start to eliminating red meat from your diet. The bottom line on red meat is that there is much evidence indicating that you may improve your health and minimise your risk of cancer and early death by having a plant-based diet.

Other Suggestions

Practices cellular nutrition and take lots of anti-oxidant supplementation. Vitamins C and E, in particular, can help prevent nitrates forming in your food.

If you don’t want to give up meats, eat only fresh organic and free-range chicken and turkey, and choose meats that do not have nitrates listed as one of the ingredients.

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Minister Of Health Dr Fenton Ferguson Is Out!!!!!!

This is a decisive action from Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller on the Ministry of Health.  I would like to see one or two more senior health officials stripped from their positions.  We must learn as a people that the higher you climb the higher the risks are of maintaining your station.  For too long, we have passed the buck whilst those who should be held at a higher standard are never held accountable.  No position or rank you hold is for life and as such when your department, entity, ministry falters badly, the ‘organ grinder’ must be held accountable and as such removed.

Masters we have become at cover ups, justification of the unjust and defending the indefensible has become common practice in our style of leadership.  Non-performers should have no comfortable seat at the table simply because they support a party.  I would hope the PNP is not made up of ‘lackeys’, as ‘lackeys’ will not lead us on any path to prosperity.


Prime Minister strips Ferguson of Health portfolio 

(Jamaica Gleaner) Friday | November 6, 2015

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has bowed to mounting public pressure and has stripped Dr Fenton Ferguson of the health portfolio.

A statement from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) said Ferguson has been moved to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.

READ: Health ministry releases audit reports

Dalley, now the minister with responsibility for the Public Service in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service will take over as health minister.

The OPM says Derrick Kellier will now only have responsibility for the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Previously, Kellier also had ministerial responsibility for Labour and Social Security.

The ministerial changes take effect on Monday.

Prime Minister Simpson Miller said the Cabinet shuffle was driven by recent discussions and expressions of concern in the public domain.

According to her, these utterances could have the effect of distracting from the very important focus of economic and social reforms.

The Prime Minister says Horace Dalley will continue the programme of improved healthcare delivery at the Ministry of Health.

However, he will continue to oversee the remaining elements of the Public Sector Wage negotiations.

Simpson Miller says Ferguson will give focus to the Government’s priority of labour market reforms, while Kellier will continue to work in the area of the expansion of the agricultural sector.

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Jamaican Curried Goat – Makes A Splash In The New York Times!!!!

A dear friend of mine who visited the Roc recently and stayed at one of the popular Resort’s was a tad distressed in not being able to dine on our authentic cuisine.  I too note the trend and it must become a daily practice where our hotels and All-inclusive properties include Jamaica’s authentic cuisine not just on a particular night but daily.  Not the watered version, not the touch up and brush up version.  Let me be specific.  The fish should have the head on it, the goat meat with the bone in it, the oxtail with the bone in it…………….must I go on……………the real ‘autical’ scotch bonnet pepper must be used.   Come on, Brand Jamaica represents every facet of our culture that is truly authentic thus making it one of a kind. 

The manner in which we prepare and present our foods should be totally Jamaican, let us never forget that.



Maginley’s Curried Goat Featured in The New York Times

(Jamaica Observer) Thursday, October 29, 2015      

 Succulent pieces of curried goat ready to be eaten.
Simmer until meat is tender

Round Hill Hotel & Villas executive chef and multi-award-winning Jamaica Observer Table Talk Food Awards recipient Martin Maginley so wowed New York visiting guest and New York Times’ A Good Appetite contributor Melissa Clark with his “Caribbean authenticity on the dinner menu” that she dedicated an entire column to ‘A Lamb Curry That Conjures Jamaica’.

Clark was pleasantly surprised. “I didn’t go to a resort in Jamaica expecting much Caribbean authenticity on the dinner menu,” she noted.

“Maybe jerk chicken, but not cow tripe and beans or the goat curry I had been reading about in various travelogues… I was wrong.

At the Round Hill resort I loved the smokiness of the chicken and the brawny rich flavour of the tripe. But it was the ‘goat curry’ that stayed with me when I returned to blustery Brooklyn.”

Thursday Life congratulates Martin Maginley for tantalising the palates of his guests with authentic Jamaican fare, proving once again that what’s uniquely Jamaican can pass muster anywhere in the world.

Thanks, Melissa Clark, for helping to spread the word! We share Maginley’s recipe.



5 lbs boneless lamb meat (cut in cubes)

2 tbsp curry powder


2 large onions

3 stalks escallion

6 cloves garlic

1/2 oz ginger

6 pimento seeds

3 sprigs thyme

2 oz olive oil


2 oz olive oil

1 tbsp curry powder

1 Scotch bonnet pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

Water (enough to cover meat)

1 cup of diced carrots

2 cups of diced Irish potatoes


• Mix (A) together until all the meat is coated in the curry powder.

• Place (B) in a blender and blend together until smooth.

• Pour (B) over (A) and mix until evenly distributed.

• Add salt and pepper to taste.

• Allow to marinate in refrigerator overnight.

• Heat 2 oz olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.

• Mix in 1 tablespoon of the curry powder and heat until fragrant.

• Add the meat to the pot and stir until curried oil coats the meat.

• Allow meat to sear (brown) until liquid evaporates.

• Cover meat with water, bring to a boil, and simmer until meat is about 90 % cooked.

• Add carrots, Irish potatoes and Scotch bonnet pepper.

• Continue simmering until vegetables are fork-tender and meat is thoroughly cooked.

• Serve with coconut rice and home-made chutney

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19 Dead Babies – Jamaican Public Hospitals Are Filthy – Enter At Your Own Risk!!!!!!

I will say it and I have and will not stop until ‘real change’ manifests itself.  Once again, I refer you to Dr Alfred Dawes report where the man ‘talk di tings’.  His detailed report cannot be back-tracked, watered down, or deleted.  Go to the archives.   The Minister of Health and all his senior leaders below him MUST do the decent thing and tender their resignations.  They all can be replaced.  Who can do any worst???????????

I will not repeat myself any further on this atrocity but to say this.  Where filth, grime and unsterile equipments or lack thereof exists, danger to ones health will be inevitable.

United States-based Jamaica-trained expert heartbroken over deaths of 19 babies

(Jamaica Gleaner) Sunday | November 1, 2015

From left: Marion Bullock DuCasse, director of emergency, disaster management and special services in the health ministry; Dr Kevin Harvey, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health; and Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson about to brief the media on the outbreak of klebsiella and serratia on October 20. 

A Jamaica-trained, United States-based neonatologist has described the deaths of the 19 babies in two local hospitals as heartbreaking, while arguing that “it is quite possible that without the bacteria, the doctors at the hospitals would have worked magic to keep the infants alive”.

Winslade Bowen, who is based in Florida, told The Sunday Gleaner that the deaths of the babies, whose underdeveloped and fragile bodies were devastated by klebsiella and serratia bacteria at two of the country’s top hospitals, was an unspeakable, painful tragedy.

“My heart is full and broken over this whole matter. As a Jamaica-trained doctor, I weep over this. Here am I in another country offering my services, and my country is bleeding from this painful tragedy,” said Bowen, who, as a neonatologist, would have had at least four years of medical school, three years of residency training in general paediatrics, and three years of additional training in newborn intensive care.

He argued that if he were based in Jamaica, it is very possible that he would have been directly involved with the day-to-day care of the babies.

“It is very painful for me, right now,” said Bowen. “The death of a child is a heart-rending event by any measure and under any circumstance. The families and loved ones of these dear children deserve all the support and love that can be offered.

“Needless to say, trite responses are callous and may, in fact, betray a lack of regard for human life. I sincerely hope that none of these responses came from any of my fellow alumni of the Faculty of Medical Sciences at UWI (University of the West Indies),” added Bowen, as he expressed a desire to return home.

Bowen, who was born at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital, attended Jamaica College before his medical training at the UWI. He said he was in medical school with Dr Allison Nicholson, senior microbiologist at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI).

“I have worked in a level-three facility for most of my life. Level one is like a regular nursery. Level two mildly to moderately ill babies who do not require ventilatory support for more than 24 hours and would not be premature less than 32 weeks.

“Level three are babies born less than 30 weeks, weighing less than 1,000 grams (2.2 pounds), requiring protracted ventilatory support and other forms of life support, 24-hour monitoring, seven days each week, and extremely premature infants, who could be as premature as 23 weeks, or six months pregnant.

“The bread and butter of what we do is actually to take care of these infants,” declared Bowen.

He noted that at level three, the prematurity of the babies could present with widespread issues.

According to Bowen, a level-four facility would include babies presenting with all of the previously mentioned symptoms, plus the need for paediatric cardiac surgery or extreme life support, where an external system oxygenates their blood for re-absorption.

Bowen told The Sunday Gleaner that he suspects the UHWI may only have the capabilities for level-three babies, even though some would present with level-four needs.

He said three years ago, he was involved in the donation of some equipment to the neonatal unit at the UHWI and learnt of the “extreme challenges facing the medical professionals there”.

“It is tough when you do not have the resources to provide the things that are needed to this unique segment of the paediatric population, who have immature respiratory and immune systems, who are susceptible to infections, and who have to be handled consistently.

“They have a lot of interface with individuals and machines,” he explained.

Bowen noted that because of the consistent support that these babies need, “cleanliness is critical to every breath taken by these children”.

“If there is one thing you must choose if resources are scarce, it’s handwashing. Here, soap and handwashing facility is everywhere. When you are handling children this delicate, if you have to wash your hands 100 times per day, wash it. Klebsiella can be transmitted that way (dirty hands). You must trim you nails and wash your hands. I cannot overemphasise that,” said Bowen.

Shortages of basic items, including cleaning agents in the hospitals, have been raised publicly and privately by medical officials.

Months ago, former Jamaica Medical Doctors Association President Dr Alfred Dawes said cleaning agents were just one of myriad things not available in the hospitals.

At that time, Dawes warned of the dangers to patients as medical personnel had to become experts at improvisation. Dawes has since left the public sector.

Bowen said it was possible that klebsiella was imported to the hospital, even as he questioned if any of the infants presented a condition known as necrotising enterocolitis – a breakdown of the gut tissue that could have caused klebsiella to invade and produce the infection.

He said the babies could also have been infected through the ventilation system.

“Serratia is renowned for living in equipment. If the babies are on ventilators and the system is infected, they are going to be infected,” he stated.

According to Bowen, several years ago, there was a serratia outbreak involving babies in the hospital he works, and it was determined that it was spread though the vacuum-cleaning of the contaminated carpet in the nursery.

He urged local health officials to “cultivate cleanliness, excellence and safety”, and suggested “a regular review of morbidity and mortality among this group as trends may indicate the need for pre-emptive action”.

So far, two officers of the UHWI – CEO Dr Cecil White and Medical Chief of Staff Professor Trevor McCartney – have resigned in the wake of the deaths of the babies at that hospital and the St James-based Cornwall Regional Hospital.

Questions have also been raised about the time taken by senior officials in the health ministry to respond after the first death linked to klebsiella and serratia was reported.


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Processed Meat & Cancer (The Choice To Do Or Not To Do Is Always Your Own!!!)

Processed meat and Cancer

(Jamaica Observer) Sunday, November 01, 2015    


Processed meat AND CANCER

LAST Monday, an International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) report declared that processed meats raise the risk of colorectal cancer, making headlines worldwide.

IARC, the cancer agency of the World Health Organization (WHO), evaluated the carcinogenicity of the consumption of red meat and processed meat and classified the consumption of red meat as probably carcinogenic to humans, while processed meat was classified as carcinogenic to humans based on “sufficient evidence in humans that the consumption of processed meat causes colorectal cancer”.

The IARC says red meat refers to all types of mammalian muscle meat, such as beef, veal, pork, lamb, mutton, horse, and goat. While processed meat refers to meat that has been transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking, or other processes to enhance flavour or improve preservation.

“Most processed meats contain pork or beef, but processed meats may also contain other red meats, poultry, offal, or meat by-products such as blood, the IARC said in its news release last week. “Examples of processed meat include hot dogs (frankfurters), ham, sausages, corned beef, and biltong or beef jerky as well as canned meat and meat-based preparations and sauces.”

Since the report was made public, several questions have been raised about its public health implications and the Jamaica Observer sought to find out if Jamaicans will stop eating processed meat as a result of the report.

The general consensus: No. Some did say, however, that they will eat processed meat in moderation.

One woman told Your Health Your Wealth that although she will not stop eating processed meat because of its link to cancer, she will minimise her consumption of processed meat for other health reasons.

“Everything you eat can kill you, and persons who do not eat processed meat still develop cancer,” she said, adding that as that reason the report is not a deterrent.

She related that a few days after the report first made headlines, one of her relatives died from cancer.

“She was in her 30s and a Seventh-day Adventist who didn’t eat that kind of thing anyway, and she’s not here anymore,” the woman said, with a shrug.

Another Jamaican also said he will not stop eating processed meat for the simple fact that he likes meat. He also said that not enough has been explained about the link between processed meat and cancer.

“How much makes it bad? Does the way it’s prepared have anything to do with it? he asked. “If that is explained better, and they say daily/weekly eating, for example, or X amount of grams per week or whatever is explained, then I may consider it. But not with the little information I see now.”

He admitted, though, that the information might be out there, but he has just not accessed it.

Meanwhile, the IARC news release admitted that the consumption of meat varies greatly between countries, with from a few per cent up to 100 per cent of people eating red meat, depending on the country, and somewhat lower proportions eating processed meat.

According to the release, the experts concluded that each 50 gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 per cent.

“For an individual, the risk of developing colorectal cancer because of their consumption of processed meat remains small, but this risk increases with the amount of meat consumed,” said Dr Kurt Straif, head of the IARC Monographs Programme. “In view of the large number of people who consume processed meat, the global impact on cancer incidence is of public health importance.”

The IARC Working Group considered more than 800 studies that investigated associations of more than a dozen types of cancer with the consumption of red meat or processed meat in many countries and populations with diverse diets.

Having received a number of queries, expressions of concern and requests for clarification following the publication of the report, WHO in a statement last Thursday said the report is not to encourage people to stop eating meat.

“The latest IARC review does not ask people to stop eating processed meats, but indicates that reducing consumption of these products can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer,” WHO said.

The organisation went further to say that it has a standing group of experts who regularly evaluate the links between diet and disease and that early next year, they will meet to begin looking at the public health implications of the latest science and the place of processed meat and red meat within the context of an overall healthy diet.

But, what is colorectal cancer?

According to the United States’ National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health, colorectal cancer is cancer that starts in the colon or rectum, which are parts of the large intestine — the lower part of the body’s digestive system.

“During digestion, food moves through the stomach and small intestine into the colon. The colon absorbs water and nutrients from the food and stores waste matter (stool). Stool moves from the colon into the rectum before it leaves the body,” the National Cancer Institute states.

It cites colorectal cancer as the third most common type of cancer in men and women in the United States.

And, the incidence of colorectal cancer in men has increased in Jamaica.

During her lecture on Cancers in Jamaica over 60 years at the Jamaica Cancer Society’s 60th anniversary celebration launch in April, consultant urologist at the University Hospital of the West Indies Dr Belinda Morrison said formal documentation of cancer incidence in Jamaica began with the Jamaica Cancer Registry, which was established in 1958. The registry has published regular comprehensive five-year reports since its inception, documenting cancer incidence (new cases diagnosed) in the Kingston and St Andrew region. She explained that using Kingston and St Andrew for data collection for the registry was a strategic move as it represented the hub of most medical care at that time and also represents 24 per cent of the population with a good blend of both urban and rural areas.

The last report was published in 2010 and covered the period 2003-2007.

“A total of 4,981 new cases were recorded for the five-year period; 2,536 for males and 2,445 for females (A significant increase in numbers from earlier periods, with 3,396 new cancers diagnosed between 1978 and 1982 and 3,652 new cases diagnosed between 1983 and 1987),” Dr Morrison had said then. “The leading cancers in men were: prostate, lung and colon. In women, the leading cancers remained: breast, cervix, colon. Overall, in males and females the leading cancer sites were: prostate, breast, colon, lung, and cervix. Cancers were now more common in men, compared to women.”

She explained that the last report of the Jamaica Cancer Registry showed that colorectal cancer incidence has increased in males. Dr Morrison said it is believed that this will continue to increase with screening and detection.

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Sheryl Lee Ralph – Proud Jamaican Who Is Not Ashamed of Her African Roots!!

The Roc surely had its field day of exceptional black women who have made a mark in ‘Hollywood’ and never ever disowned the land or their origin.  Sheryl Lee Ralph, featured and interviewed on a segment of the African Channel inspired me in her brief account of her life from Jamaica to the stages of Broadway and Hollywood.

She was the guest speaker at the annual staging of the Jamaican Cancer Society and in her words she says;

“You must love yourself to set yourself up in life. You have to be the type of woman that can get up and talk to yourself and believe in yourself, because in order to set yourself up in life you must love yourself first.”

If women truly get this, then just maybe the ‘drama’ would be purely for fun versus your ‘sad reality’ which remains endless.


Sheryl Lee Ralph urges women to love themselves

(Jamaica Observer) Sunday, November 01, 2015    

Singer and actress Sheryl Lee Ralph sends her message to the gathering.

IT was indeed a pink affair at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston last Thursday as hundreds of cancer advocates and survivors joined in celebration of the annual staging of the Jamaica Cancer Society (JCS)/Jamaica Reach to Recovery Keeping Abreast Luncheon.

The fund-raising event, which signals the end to a month-long suite of activities organised in observance of Breast Cancer Awareness, has been a part of the 60-year-old Jamaica Cancer Society for the last two decades.

The celebratory affair has focused on breast cancer survivorship and solidarity with the cause, with proceeds it being primarily invested in ongoing screening and education as well as public awareness among the populace.

However, this year, executive director of the Jamaica Cancer Society, Yulit Gordon, has committed to utilising funds to providing assistance to cancer patients who are financially handicapped and unable to access crucial treatment.

“Over the past year, we have noticed a steady increase in the number of newly diagnosed breast cancer patients who are underserved and very vulnerable, and are in desperate need of chemotherapy and radiation. These are women who are not employed and they do not have access to health insurance. But they need treatment, so are making an effort to allocate some of the funds from the Keeping Abreast Luncheon to the treatment fund,” Gordon stated.

This effort was supported chairman of the Jamaica Cancer Society and general manager of associate sponsor Jamaica National, Earl Jarrett, who emphasised the need to provide assistance for cancer patients. “Treating cancer is expensive. The assistance provided through this fund-raiser activity could assist a family in large part, and so we remain committed to an effort to educate and to encourage persons to screen for cancer,” Jarrett told the Sunday Observer.

Guest speaker at the event, renowned international actress, singer, and activist Sheryl Lee Ralph brought a message of self-empowerment, self-love and care for others as she sought to inspire hope within attendees.

“Too many women are not happy being the fabulous woman that they are. You must love yourself to set yourself up in life. You have to be the type of woman that can get up and talk to yourself and believe in yourself, because in order to set yourself up in life you must love yourself first,” Ralph said.

She encouraged women to engender a culture of love through self-bonding and developing a healthy relationship with themselves.

“You have to love her, respect her, care for her, treat her right, hug her, and remind her that everything will be alright,” Ralph advised.

She said that having developed this healthy relationship with themselves, women should become more comfortable with touching themselves and doing self-checks, something that many women have shied away from, resulting in many of them failing to detect cancer in its early stages.

“Why is it that women have breasts and can’t touch them,” Ralph asked guests as she paused to examine and hold and caress hers in a move to encourage women that it is normal and acceptable for them to ‘touch themselves.

“You have to become a woman who is not afraid of touching your breasts, of going into the shower and to hold and to press your breasts to check for those unwanted lumps. We have to be prepared to detect early so that we can get the necessary treatment and fight for our selves if we must,” Ralph encouraged.

Ralph did not have to impart the message on the importance of early detection alone, as Vice Chairman of the Jamaica Cancer Society Michael Fraser, in delivering the vote of thanks, did not merely salute the contributors at the function and the events execution team. He also brought a message of self-care as he encouraged cancer survivors and those who are battling the life-threatening disease to ensure that they remain in control of their health. He encouraged women, especially at age 40, to ensure that they get their mammograms done and in general screen for cancer.

Breast cancer has been identified as the leading cause of death among Jamaican

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