Published 26 April 2023
Buckie Got It Media Source
ST. KITTS AND NEVIS’ PRIME MINISTER PITCHES THE IDEA OF CENTERS OF EXCELLENCE FOR HEALTH ACROSS THE OECS SUB-REGION
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, April 26, 2023 (SKNIS) – Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew said it is a known fact that the economies of the member states of the OECS [Organization of Eastern Caribbean States] are limited in resources, and as such, should consider greater collaboration to successfully address certain challenges, particularly that of providing quality healthcare to citizens.
“Our region is small. I don’t think we have a million people in the OECS member countries. Yet, our demand for quality healthcare is extremely high and our expectations as members of these sub-regions, these expectations are also high,” said Prime Minister Dr. Drew when he delivered the featured address at the opening session of the 7th Growth and Resilience Dialogue on Tuesday, April 25, 2023.
It was against this backdrop that Prime Minister Dr. Drew, who is also the Minister of Health in the Federal Government of St. Kitts and Nevis, proposed the idea of establishing centers of excellence throughout the OECS sub-region.
He said, “Presently in the ECCU, there is a lack of medical centers of excellence. There is hardly any country or island that has centers of excellence. When many of our people have to access specialized care, on many occasions, they have to travel abroad, where care is extremely expensive. Those who lack the financial resources or don’t have appropriate health insurance go without care or substandard care.”
“We can therefore, consider, and I hope that this gets to the other Heads, I intend to bring this also at the CAROCOM level as the Chief Spokesperson for Health; we can consider establishing a center of excellence on each island or territory that each of us can have access to break it down into simple terms: Saint Kitts and Nevis can have a center of excellence for cardiac diseases, heart diseases. Saint Vincent might be able to have one for gastrointestinal issues. Antigua might be able to have one for neurological diseases,” the Prime Minister continued.
Dr. Drew reiterated that more collaboration and a shared vision are needed to provide the people in the sub-region with top-class healthcare.
“I, as the Minister of Health, have quickly recognized that our budgets do not allow us to carry that burden, and our population sizes do not allow us to implement these centers of excellence all on the same island or in the same territory. And so, just like how we have a common currency, and we would have taught the world how to do it, I think we have an opportunity to expand that depth of collaboration, an understanding of the importance of sharing our burdens, to ensure that at the end of the day, our people would have access to good, quality healthcare,” said Prime Minister Dr. Drew.
The Growth and Resilience Dialogue, which concludes later today (April 26), is hosted by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), in collaboration with the OECS Commission, the World Bank, and The University of the West Indies.
It is being guided by the theme, “An appropriate and sustainable model for health care in the ECCU/OECS – Agile Infrastructure, Traditional Medicine and Medicinal Cannabis”.