On Friday May 5, 2023, the WHO’s Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said at a Press Conference in Geneva, that WHO’s Emergency Committee met and recommended ending the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency of International Concern, the highest alert level WHO can declare, that has been in effect since January 30, 2020. “It’s therefore with great hope that I declare COVID-19 over as a global health emergency,” Tedros said.
This was made in light of the observed decreasing trend in COVID-19 deaths, the declining COVID-19 related hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions, and the high-levels of population immunity against SARS-CoV-2.
Saint Lucia was able to improve its functional capacities within the health sector while responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The country was able to build laboratory diagnostic capacity at the Ezra Long Laboratory to test for COVID-19 and other infectious diseases which they could not test for before COVID-19. We were able to build our human resource capacity for the delivery of health care services across the island.
COVID-19 is now established to be a health issue, which the Ministry of Health will continue to manage. Saint Lucia has transitioned from the emergency mode of managing COVID -19 to managing COVID-19 alongside other infectious diseases, with the integration of COVID-19 management at all health facilities. This gives the Ministry the opportunity to return the focus to the regular programme areas as the Ministry restore the essential services that were adversely impacted by COVID-19.
In addition, the Ministry is undertaking health system reform, which includes the acceleration of the implementation of Universal Health Coverage where a basket of essential health services will be made available, accessible and affordable to the population.
At this time, the Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs takes this opportunity to encourage people to take care of their health and wellbeing by practicing good health, seeking behaviour like eating healthy, drinking adequate quantity of water, and having adequate exercise and rest, and to visit their health care provider for health maintenance care.
The Ministry of Health thanks the public for their contributions towards the successful management of COVID-19 in Saint Lucia.