Caribbean Flagship Regional Knowledge Exchange to Accelerate UHC in the Caribbean

The Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly affairs hosted the opening ceremony of a three-day Knowledge Exchange Conference at the Finance Administrative Center on Tuesday, 25th October 2022.

The Conference was held to improve health systems resilience and accelerate progress toward Universal Health Coverage in the Caribbean.

This was a first-time collaboration between Korea World Bank Partnership Facility and the World Bank and involved health policy makers from around the world.

Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica, Jamaica, Sint Maarten and Belize were all part of this historic gathering of health policy makers.

The Caribbean Flagship Regional Knowledge Exchange Conference also hosted health policy makers from the Republic of Korea, Colombia, Canada, Spain, Guatemala and the World Bank.

Director of Universal Health Coverage in Saint Lucia – Dr. Alisha Eugene-Ford indicated that the three-day conference had a number of focuses, one of which was to accelerate progress toward Universal Health Coverage.

“We just had our opening ceremony, and as you could well see persons who actually viewed it online they realize that we had international speakers as well as persons locally being able to give a remark on UHC and what we want in UHC. We also had the opportunity to show some of our cultural events,”Dr Ford said.

Main speakers for the opening ceremony included St. Lucia’s Minister for Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs, Hon. Moses Jn. Baptiste.

The health minister highlighted financing as one of the common challenges ahead of UHC’s implementation.

His hope is that St. Lucia’s continued efforts, along with the knowledge exchange, will assist with UHC’s installation.

“Universal Healthcare Coverage is a long-term policy engagement. It requires political action, together with political knowledge. Therefor we are committed. We are committed to the investments and to put money where our collective mouths can be found. We are committed as a government to invest in the administrative capabilities to develop solid institutional foundations and to offer responsive governance,” Jn Baptiste said.

The impact on the world’s health sector during the COVID-19 period was reflected during this knowledge exchange event, as it still dwells regularly in health conversations.

The Caribbean’s struggles with Non-Communicable Diseases will also form part of the discussion, along with Information and Communication Technology Systems.

Dr. Ford says wholesome presentations and healthy discourse is expected on the various topics.

She adds, “This information will allow us to feed into the white paper, which is the road map towards universal health coverage. But not only for St. Lucia but the other islands that are there as well, they need that information to improve their health care system. So at the end of the three days, we anticipate that our staff members who are here, and others from other islands, they will be able to know more on chronic non-communicable diseases after discussing about the experiences and treatment or any charge challenges they’ve had.”

The three-day session included site visits to the Anse La Raye Wellness Center and OKEUH.

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