HSA increases patient treatment options with launch of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Clinic

Herbal Medicine Practitioner and Medical Doctor Dr Irka Ebanks

Treatment options have increased for patients at the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority (HSA) with the launch of its first Complementary & Alternative Medicine (CAM) Clinic. Catering to persons interested in pursuing treatments that fall outside of orthodox medicine, the CAM clinic includes its very own herbal medicine dispensary.

“CAM works in conjunction or together with conventional medicine. It takes a very holistic approach towards healing, by supporting the body’s own natural effort in achieving a balanced state of positive energy and optimum physical health,” said Caymanian Herbal Medicine Practitioner and Medical Doctor, Dr Irka Ebanks. “CAM may also encourage the use of naturopathic medicine, which embraces the idea that one should not only attack symptoms of illness but attack it at its root cause, which may be influenced by poor diet, lack of sleep, mental health struggles and other situational factors that can adversely influence a person’s physical and mental health.”

Various types of CAM approaches include the use of natural products/herbal remedies, mind and body practices and other complementary health approaches. They are used to help with a variety of conditions such as colds, flu, post-viral fatigue, stress and anxiety, muscle, back and joint pain, digestive health, hypertension, women’s, men’s and children’s health issues, weight concerns and cleansing/detox.

Dr Ebanks noted that the use of natural products/herbal remedies have been practised by many traditional Caymanians. “They have found that the use of specific herbs is effective in healing ‘suffering’ areas of the body and mind, treating them, with an aim for restoration to a state of normality. However, herbal remedies should be treated with caution, as they are medicines – persons should be aware that there are possible interactions with pharmaceutical medications, supplements and other herbs, therefore should only be administered under the care of a physician.”

Dr Ebanks obtained her Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degree (MBBS) in 2013 after studying at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona, Jamaica and UWI, School of Clinical Medicine & Research, Nassau Bahamas in 2013. She has gained experience at Kingston Region Public Hospitals – Kingston Public Hospital, Victoria Jubilee Hospital and Bustamante Hospital for Children and Health City Cayman Islands. In 2019 she graduated from the College of Naturopathic Medicine, London with a Diploma in Herbal Medicine and a Diploma in Naturopathy, after which she returned home and joined HSA as a medical doctor.

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Working alongside Dr Ebanks and managing the Herbal Pharmacy is Rosemarie Bailey who has been registered as a pharmacist for over 28 years, holds a Master’s in Clinical Pharmacy, is a trained cannabis provider, has trained in herbal medicine and is a medical missionary.

The CAM Clinic is located at the HSA’s new and spacious Specialist Clinic on the 3rd floor of the Smith Road Centre. Opening hours are Mondays to Thursdays 8 am to 4 pm and Fridays 8 am to 12 pm.

To find out more about the CAM service visit https://www.hsa.ky/services-specialties/complementary-alternative-medicine/ or call the Specialist Clinic at 244-7750 or 244-7751.

Pharmacist Rosemarie Bailey
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