Minister Liburd to articulate Federation’s issues at series of health meetings in Washington, D.C.

Minister of Health, Hon. Marcella Liburd

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, SEPTEMBER 26TH 2010 (CUOPM) – St. Kitts and Nevis’ Minister of Health, Hon. Marcella Liburd is in Washington D.C. to attend regional and hemispheric meetings at the Pan American Health Organization Headquarters.

The Federation’s top health official is expected to articulate the prominent issues associated with improving health, human development, family and societal well-being.

She is expected to call for renewed effort and investment to address the priority health concerns of the Federation particularly those affecting youth, families and communities.

Chief among them are violence, harmful use of substances, and non-communicable diseases – principal causes of public insecurity and major threats to sustainable development.

Minister Liburd attended the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Caucus of Health Ministers at its Nineteenth Meeting in Washington on Saturday 25th September 2010, to review a number of issues on the Region’s health agenda including the implementation of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).

The two-day meeting at the Headquarters of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), Washington, D.C. comes before the 50th Directing Council of PAHO, scheduled from 27 September to 1 October 2010.

The Caucus has prioritised a review of the resource and sustainability strategy for the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the umbrella health institution that will integrate the functions and administration of five Caribbean Regional Health Institutions (RHIs): the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (CAREC), the Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute (CFNI), the Caribbean Environmental Health Institute (CEHI), the Caribbean Regional Drug Testing Laboratory (CRDTL) and the Caribbean Health Research Council (CHRC). During this discussion, the Caucus will rationalise strategies for the funding in CARPHA’s transition period 2010-2014 and in the period after 2014.

Deliberations are also expected to be focused on a strategic plan to combat Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), a mandate which emanated from the September 2007 Port of Spain Summit Declaration on NCDs. In this context, the Caucus will rationalise the role of the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) in support of the Summit’s goals including effective warning on tobacco products towards the reduction of tobacco use and mandatory labelling of foods towards a reduction of trans fat consumption and high sodium intake.

The Caucus considered the issue of HIV and AIDS in the context of the CARICOM/PANCAP Global Fund Round 9 Regional HIV and AIDS Grant which was approved for a project titled “Fighting HIV and AIDS in the Caribbean: A Strategic Approach.”

The grant totals US$34.5 million and has listed 16 countries as beneficiaries with the CARICOM Secretariat as the Principal Recipient of the Grant, responsible for its effective coordination, technical oversight and financial management. The Caucus, at their meeting this week-end, is expected to provide further guidance in advancing the project’s implementation, scheduled to begin in January 2011.

Also on the agenda was a report on a proposed Caribbean Pharmaceutical Policy, which was set in motion at the Tenth Meeting of the Council for Human and Social Development – Health, Sustainable Development and the Environment, held in Trinidad and Tobago in April 2004. The Council had mandated a Technical Working Group to access essential medicines in the Region and to propose necessary solutions. In considering the proposed Caribbean Pharmaceutical Policy, among the issues the Caucus will examine are a mechanism for the oversight structure of the Policy’s implementation and a sustainable financing framework.

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