Health conference held

A three-day health conference that
brought experts from a wide range of medical fields to Cayman concluded on

The Cayman Islands Medical and
Nursing Conference 2010, with the theme Caring Today for a Healthier Tomorrow,
drew around 400 attendees from all walks of medical life in Cayman, and opened
on 12 May, which was International Nurses Day and the birthday of Florence Nightingale.

Speaking at the opening of the
conference on Wednesday at Hollywood Theatres in Camana Bay, Hazel Brown, chief
nursing officer at the Health Services Authority, said nurses continued to
provide patient care in “challenging financial times”.

She said the “spectre of chronic
non-communicable diseases was magnified in times of economic constraints as the
stresses of daily living affects our population. This places on us, as
healthcare providers, an even greater responsibility to educate our population;
to equip ourselves to mitigate the risks.”

 “This conference is one initiative in
supporting healthcare providers in meeting the challenges of today for a
healthier population tomorrow,” she added.

The event, the fifth of its kind to be held in Cayman, was organised
by the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority, with 16 speakers attending
from Baptist Health South Florida.

Speaking on behalf of Mark Scotland, the minister of health, Jennifer Ahearn, the chief officer in the
ministry of health, welcomed the attendees at the conference.

She said the Cayman Islands had more than 150
physicians, including general practitioners, anaesthesiologists, orthopaedic
surgeons and other specialists, about 300 licensed nurses, and 40 registered
pharmacists, as well as other health professionals such as physiotherapists,
medical technologists, radiographers, counsellors and emergency medical technicians.

There are also about 60 dentists,
dental therapists and dental hygienists, including specialists in orthodontics
and periodontics, in Cayman.

“This all means that for such a
small country, residents certainly have a great deal of variety in the medical
treatments available – including some of the latest techniques and therapies on
the market.”

She added: “In the medical field,
more doesn’t necessarily mean better”, which made the conference “such a
crucial element in maintaining the high quality of medical care that Cayman’s
residents have come to expect”.

She said continuing medical
education kept healthcare providers up to date with recent advances and
research findings, and allowed them to acquire new skills.

She added: “Staying abreast of new
techniques and following the recommendations of medical studies affects
everyone’s bottom line. Superior medical professionals mean better care and
fewer medical errors, equating to faster recovery time and lower medical

Dr. Greg Hoeksema, Medical Director
of the Health Services Authority, who delivered a speech on behalf of the CEO
of the board of the Health Services Authority, Lizzette Yearwood, said that in
previous years, the conference had been primarily devoted to nursing. 

“This year, we are pleased to have
representatives from a wide variety of professions including physicians,
pharmacists, dentists, nurses, physiotherapists, and more,” he said.

“The mandate for all healthcare
professionals to meet continuing education requirements has been a difficult
situation for those of us working in the Cayman Islands.  Prior to the creation of this conference each
of you had no choice but to travel offshore each year to meet these requirements,”
he told attendees.

The opening address at the
conference was delivered by Dr. Una Reid, a human resource development
consultant, who said health professionals were trying to stem a rising tide of
chronic diseases, such as diabetes which affects 246 million people worldwide
and is expected to affect 380 million by 2025.

Every 10 seconds a person dies from
diabetes-related causes and two people develop diabetes, she said.

The conference covered a wide
variety of topics relevant to healthcare in the Cayman Islands, including
management of rheumatoid, glycaemic control, kidney health, management of
trauma in children, wound care, renal failure, HIV and AIDS, gestational
diabetes, heart failure, depression, stroke and recognising child sexual abuse.

The conference closed out with the
Eloise Reid Award for Nursing Excellence, held at the Ritz Carlton Hotel on


Chief Nursing Officer Hazel Brown, left, with Dr. Una Reid, at the opening of the Cayman Islands Medical and Nursing Conference last week.
Photo: Norma Connolly