OECS Health Ministers Meeting Ends with Promise of Deeper Cooperation

(ZIZ News) – OECS Health Ministers have wrapped up high level discussions in St. Kitts and Nevis with greater appreciation for collaboration in the sub-region.

This following the 2nd Council of Health Ministers Meeting held at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort on Thursday.

One of the main challenges addressed, according to Minister of Health for Antigua and Barbuda the Hon. Molwyn Joseph, surrounded regional governments’ compliance to the International Health Regulations by June 2016.

“This is a requirement of the World Health Organisation. It’s really a legally binding requirement and so we have a very narrow window to ensure that we fulfil all the requirements so that as a region, we can stand up in the world and say that the entire OECS offers a type of health security system that you will find anywhere else in the world,” the Antiguan Minister said.

Minister Joseph said the region’s tourism sector will also benefit from establishing those regulations.

“Our economy, every one of us is based on tourism and we must be able to market our destinations, not only in terms of our beauty, our beaches but in terms of health care systems that will meet the expectation of the international markets,” he noted.

Meanwhile, Anguilla’s Health Minister, Hon. Evans McNiel Rogers said they furthered their discussions on the establishment of integrated health information systems in the OECS.

“I think it is very important for us to realise that if we aspire to be integrated; and when I say integrated I mean truly integrated; if we’re going to standardise things and if we’re going to have full collaboration between us as a people and as a group of countries, really and truly those information systems must be standardised,” Minister Rogers said, adding that he longs to see the day when an individual from St. Kitts could go to Antigua and be able to access the services at the Cancer Centre using a common insurance card.

Other issues addressed during the meeting included the impact of climate change on health systems, the establishment of centres of excellence throughout the OECS and the impact of HIV/AIDS on health systems.

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