(PRESS RELEASE) – Ministers of Health of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States OECS recently met in Saint Lucia for two important meetings to discuss and examine ways to improve access of health services to citizens of the region.
The Ministry of Health & Wellness in collaboration with the Organisation of the Eastern Caribbean States OECS recently convened the 6th Council of Health Ministers Meeting and the 33rd OECS Pharmaceutical Procurement Service Policy Board Meeting.
The meeting provided policy makers with the opportunity to engage in constructive dialogue on issues of health including chronic diseases, HIV and tuberculosis, access to quality health care services and procurement of pharmaceuticals, to name a few.
Head of the OECS Health Unit Dr. Carlen Radix says this meeting is very important as it will call for the support and collaboration of health policy makers in advancing the health development agenda in the region.
“At the end of this meeting, there will be clear decisions made on the way forward with regard to pharmaceutical policies, if there are new areas of drugs to be investigated and added to the list, for example, what we procure together or if there are decisions to be made with regards to how we can do that more efficiently and generally decisions on how things can be done better together; what things we can do better together as a region that can help the national efforts that are happening on the ground in the area of health.”
Incoming Chairperson of the Council of Health Ministers Sen. Hon. Mary Isaac addressed the ceremony and placed great emphasis on the need to establish programmes focused on preventative care.
“We as small island developing states, we do not have the resources, we do not have the expertise, the specialists to take care of these catastrophic diseases and events that are happening throughout the world. So, we have to put more focus on primary care, on preventative care so that we do not have to be faced with the issues we are being faced with right now: the amount of people suffering from diabetes, the amount of heart disease, stroke is on the increase in our region. So, we have to be able to look at preventative care.”
Outgoing chairperson and Montserrat’s Minister for Health and Social Services Hon. Charles Kirnon says he is very pleased to handover the chairmanship to Sen. Hon. Mary Isaac.
“Madame Minister, we are grateful for your kind hospitality and for your agreement to host this year’s meeting due to the recently held elections in Montserrat. Please be assured that we stand ready to support you in whatever way we can over the next year and into the future. Madame Minister, we are confident that much will be achieved under your strategic leadership and direction.”
The 6th Council of Health Ministers Meeting was held under the theme, “Enhancing our reach through solidarity, policy and legislative approach.”