Founder and Chairman of Women of Substance Group Onika Mars has praised the establishment of a Women’s Health Service/Pink Room and Breast Health Clinic in Tobago East.
On May 27, the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development opened the first of two women’s health clinic at Windward Road, Louis D'or. The clinic was commissioned primarily to decrease the number of breast cancer cases and other health-related issues women experience. At the centre, women will have access to sexual and reproductive health services, breast health services and counselling. The centre is opened Mondays to Fridays from 9am to 3pm and is free to the public.
Speaking with Newsday on Monday, Mars described the launch of the Pink Room as an excellent initiative, “as women tend to take care of everyone else and neglect themselves.”
A staunch advocate for women's rights, she added, “As we encourage self-care, it is a good opportunity for women to be able to access services in a specific place. That Pink Room space can be considered a safe space for women because our health is our wealth."
She hopes the counselling service offered at the clinic will accommodate women who are physically and emotionally abused as well.
“What I do hope is that the conversation about domestic violence and abuse can also begin at that pink room also, as the issue of domestic violence also affects women’s health.”
During the commissioning ceremony, Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles encouraged Tobago’s women to take advantage of the services being offered. He said the THA remains committed to providing quality healthcare services on the island.
Charles told attendees: “You have to add you to your to-do list and ensure to take care of your health, you have to become a priority. With statistics such as breast cancer being the second most deadly cancer in women and monograms reported as being able to detect cancer sometimes up to three years before a lump can be felt, it means that more than 90 per cent of these early stage cancers can be cured.”
Charles, Health Secretary Dr Agatha Carrington, Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister Ayanna Webster-Roy and a team of nurses also toured the Louis D'or area to promote the facility and sensitise villagers about the services can be accessed.