Bet­ter tomorrow won’t come with­out ac­tion now

The Compass - - EDITORIAL -

To all par­ties — to have a stronger tomorrow, one needs the proper tools to do so to­day.

Food se­cu­rity in the form of fresh fruit, veg­eta­bles, dairy, breads, pas­tas, meat and fish. Most of th­ese are out of reach for those on fixed in­comes who are forced to buy so­das, canned or pro­cessed foods con­tain­ing high salt and sugar con­tent, be­cause they are cheaper. This re­sults in such ill­nesses as de­fi­cient lev­els of needed vi­ta­mins and min­er­als, poor for­ma­tion of healthy teeth and strong bones.

Warmth. Cur­rently there are many who can­not enjoy their homes be­tween the months of Novem­ber through to May, be­cause the money they re­ceive isn’t enough to pro­vide both food and heat. They turn the heat off in rooms, re­sult­ing in damp­ness and mould lead­ing colds, bronchial asthma, pneu­mo­nia, in­fec­tions, arthri­tis etc.

Prescription drugs. So many vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple can­not af­ford to fill their prescription and go with­out things like test strips, or other med­i­ca­tions like os­tomy sup­plies or in­halers. Peo­ple with se­ri­ous ill­nesses need med­i­ca­tion to stay well, things like diabetes strips (cur­rently not cov­ered) to mea­sure blood sugar lev­els and pumps, drugs to treat rare con­di­tions and can­cer drugs. Some who work are not qual­i­fied to use the New­found­land Prescription Drug Pro­gram. This has to change.

Trans­porta­tion to all med­i­cal ap­point­ments. One must pay th­ese costs up­front and then sub­mit a claim and ‘hope’ to be re­im­bursed. The client must also make eight such trips be­fore the ninth trip is con­sid­ered for re­im­burse­ment. If you are an Ad­vanced Ed­u­ca­tion and Skills client liv­ing let’s say in Car­bon­ear, you would have to go to St. John’s eight times at a cost be­tween $120-$150 each way, be­fore be­ing re­im­bursed for the ninth trip only.

Af­ford­able, ac­ces­si­ble, day­care. As it now stands, many peo­ple who could be work­ing are not, mainly be­cause what money they get goes straight out to a babysit­ter, leav­ing them no fur­ther ahead than they were on wel­fare, and that’s if they are for­tu­nate enough to find a full time job and if they were able to find qual­ity day care at an af­ford­able cost. Sev­eral fam­i­lies have told me they are fur­ther ahead on wel­fare with the way things are now.

A bet­ter den­tal care pro­gram. That’s pretty much how it is any­where, for most! Yet for AES clients, den­tal care is not easy. Den­tal care pro­grams have a $300 cap. That’s not much. And there is no pro­vi­sion for flu­o­ride or other pre­ven­ta­tive treat­ments.

Bet­ter sup­port for se­niors. You, like many oth­ers have heard the phrase, ‘the golden years’? I call it the ‘tar­nished years’ sim­ply be­cause for many el­derly, there is not enough money to pro­vide the ex­tra heat they need.

En­hanced sup­ports for the dis­abled. In ru­ral ar­eas there is a ma­jor short­age of much needed ser­vices for the dis­abled.There are no wheel­chair or hand­i­capped trans­porta­tion sys­tems. Of­ten the dis­abled need ex­tra money for the ex­tra ex­penses in­curred be­cause of the dis­abil­ity, like leg or body braces, snow re­moval, and ap­point­ments with doc­tors and spe­cial­ists.

Pro­grams for those with spe­cial needs. Chil­dren and young adults need pro­grams de­signed specif­i­cally for their ill­ness or con­di­tion, whether it is autism, hear­ing im­paired, or blind­ness. With­out th­ese pro­grams, some of our bright­est will never re­al­ize their full po­ten­tial as con­tribut­ing cit­i­zens in New­found­land.

Th­ese are some of the is­sues I see and hear ev­ery­day in the lives of those around me and in their in­ter­ac­tions with me!

You want a stronger tomorrow? Start by pro­vid­ing the tools needed to build stronger peo­ple! Give us your solid com­mit­ment to this!

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