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SLMDA Says Crime Spike Poses A Threat To Public Health

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Our simply beautiful island nation of Saint Lucia is facing a concerning surge in crime, a trend that not only threatens the safety of our citizens but also places an unprecedented strain on our nation’s medical sector.

Recent statistics reveal a worrisome uptick in criminal activities with ten homicides already in 2024, prompting us at the Saint Lucia Medical and Dental Association to address the multifaceted implications on public health.

The impact of the escalating crime levels extends beyond immediate safety concerns.

Emergency rooms and healthcare facilities are grappling with an influx of trauma cases of varying severity resulting from violent incidents, putting an additional burden on an already stretched healthcare system. The ripple effects are many and include:

  • increasing patient volume
  • Increased demand on blood bank resources
  • Increased emergency surgical procedures and need for ICU beds
  • Extended wait times for other patients seeking emergency services
  • Significant strain on hospital infrastructure, physical and human resources
  • Increased demand on EMT and ambulance services

Healthcare facilities are forced to allocate more resources to handle trauma cases, including increased staffing in emergency departments and additional medical supplies.

This redirection of resources comes at a time when the world is grappling with ongoing public health challenges, making it crucial to address the root causes of the rise in crime to alleviate the strain on the medical sector.

There is also a significant mental health impact. The fear of crime and the experience of victimization can contribute to mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Communities with high crime rates may experience heightened levels of stress and reduced overall mental well-being.

The constant exposure of  health care workers to these traumatic cases, breaking news to families and even threats in some cases does not bode well for the mental health of our healthcare workers.

Chronic stress has been linked to the development of chronic non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, cancer and immune system suppression. This demonstrates that the constant threat of crime poses a threat to overall physical health, which is a problem we are already battling.

The allocation of public health resources may shift to address the immediate consequences of crime, diverting attention and funds away from preventive measures, community health initiatives, and addressing underlying social determinants of health.

Crime can lead to economic instability within communities, affecting employment opportunities and economic development. Economic hardships, in turn, can contribute to health disparities and exacerbate existing health issues.

The SLMDA urges the government of Saint Lucia and all stakeholders to unite and seek to implement a holistic approach to address the issue of crime, combining law enforcement efforts with community outreach programs and social initiatives. We stand ready as a professional body and civil society group to assist in these efforts.

In the face of these challenges, the people of Saint Lucia remain resilient and it is essential that we come together to safeguard the well-being of our communities.

As a nation, we need to commit to implementing comprehensive strategies that address the immediate safety concerns while fostering a sustainable, secure environment for all residents.

Addressing the root causes of crime, implementing effective crime prevention strategies, and fostering community resilience are crucial components of promoting public health and creating safer, healthier societies.

SOURCE: Saint Lucia Medical and Dental Association

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7 COMMENTS

  1. I think most of us don’t want to accept the reality which is the crime problem on the island is not a priority for this Administration. Have anyone realize how quick they are to call out the opposition when they make a comment regarding them? so now can someone please tell me when was the last time this government really reassured us that they are trying to fight the crime problem on the island ???

  2. Which criminals would spend time to read your article. The position you hold you doesn’t seem to know how to uses it rather repeating what people already know. You are targeting the wrong audience SLMDA. You should be focusing on what mess the PAHO and WHO are doing. That’s how you safe guard the nation. Don’t think as if you can solve what is going on at present. Stick in your section

  3. @HN – you are absolutely correct. The first step to solve a problem is to identify and accept it. Once you have completed the first step then you find solution to the problem.

    This administration does not want accept the fact that gun violence is a problem in slu. Some tells you, it is every where in the Caribbean. Others will say only the criminals kill criminals. The PM will admit that he is not a Police. There are so many excuses that I have heard. I am convinced this current administration will do nothing and can do nothing with the crime situation. They have not taken the first step to admit that there is a big elephant in the room.

  4. Get use to it you Clowns get use to it this is the new normal going forward , people need to stop acting like this is some alien invasion, no this cancer is caused by St Lucian’s at home and abroad. When those in the diaspora sending a tool for their families and friends they don’t care who’s in power before they send it all they are singing in their heads is the Jackson Five it got to be there.

  5. The SLMDA has every right to “advertise” the plight of what St Lucia is becoming, and will become if this crime scourge is not dealt with.

    When this scourge hits certain families, they will reap the pain inflicted by these miscreants. The suffering inflicted on St Lucia is too fast, too soon, and way too toxic for most people to comprehend.

    To THLH – please shut up, and YOU get “to be there”. Pay special attention to the lyrics of the tune you’re trying to push on readers.

  6. Wait now alone. Aa I think all u 3 years too late weee. Btw Did all u write the PM and indicate this. Why is this statement being made? I read this and not one shred of evidence using numbers and figures. Show us stats for the last 10 years. Link the crime and accidents ot the economic growth. Show us how it affects economies of small households. Gv us info on the cost of road fatality in Lucia. Get ingo form the Insurance council on the dollar effect of accidents. My opinion a bunch of females heading organisations who either hv no qualification for or got through school because they were females. Not a word from the Chief Transport Officer about accidents on island. ANYWAYS. When all we do is reward party hacks with positions and protect the victory and not the people. This is what u get.

  7. Addressing the pervasive issue of crime in Vieux Fort town is crucial, not only for physical safety but also for addressing the mental trauma it inflicts on the community. Providing safer homes and assistance for interested individuals to relocate can offer immediate relief, while ensuring professionals are on the ground to provide support and foster a sense of security is essential for long-term healing and resilience.

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