Representatives of six eastern Caribbean countries — Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines — have signed a health technical cooperation agreement with the Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization’s regional office, known as PAHO/WHO.
The 2018-2024 Cooperation Strategy for Barbados and Eastern Caribbean Countries is the continuation of a previous agreement signed by the countries in an attempt to tackle new challenges, continue previous programs and achieve unmet goals.
“This strategy is your vision of how PAHO/WHO can best support the work of your ministries of health in improving the health of their people,” said PAHO/WHO director Carissa Etienne, Caribbean News Now reported.
“It is aligned with your countries’ national health policies, strategies and plans as well as with established Caribbean-wide health goals and the United Nations Multicountry Sustainable Development Framework for the Caribbean.”
The strategy is based on five priorities: strengthening the countries’ health systems to advance universal health coverage and access; reducing deaths and illness from communicable diseases like HIV, tuberculosis and hepatitis B; achieving optimum family health throughout the life course; reducing the burden of non-communicable diseases; and strengthening preparedness and response to health emergencies and disasters while also reducing environmental threats and risks.
Carissa Etienne from Dominica is the first Caribbean woman to lead these health organizations. She was elected as PAHO’s director for the first time in 2013 and was re-elected past September.
Last year, some of these countries were certified by PAHO for eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV.