INTERREG CARES was launched in Saint Lucia in October 2018. The project is the result of a close collaboration between public and private institutions in the area of health in Guadeloupe, Martinique and the OECS.
The project resulted from a close collaboration between OECS Member States (Saint Lucia, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Montserrat) and public / private health organisations in Guadeloupe and Martinique, including:
- the Regional Health Agencies of Guadeloupe, Saint-Martin, Saint-Barthélémy and Martinique;
- the Hospital University Centers of Martinique and Guadeloupe;
- Basse-Terre Hospital Center;
- Maurice Selbonne Hospital Center;
- GCS Caraïbes et Archipel;
- Les Eaux Claires Clinical Center; and
- CAREST Association.
The project, led by the Regional Agency of Guadeloupe, totals 5 million Euros and is funded by two European Funds including INTERREG funds and the European Development Fund (EDF).
INTERREG CARES aspires to achieve multiple objectives, including deeper access by nationals of OECS Member States to health services in the French Departments, improved interconnectedness of regional health systems and building the capacity of health professionals and decision makers.
This 2nd Steering Committee enabled the partners to discuss the main advancements of the project. Indeed, INTERREG CARES includes seventeen (17) projects which will be implemented in multiple specialised medical fields. These include, telemedicine; anticipated cancer screening and treatments through new technologies, such as PETscan; screening of drepanocytose and HIV; orthopedic surgeries; pediatric surgery; cardiology; ophthalmology; emergency treatments; access to medical labs and assistance to the elderly.
Projects are expected to be completed by December, 2020.
"Beyond the difficulties we may face in our territories, we must prepare for the future and this project is part of our preparation for the future. INTERREG CARES enables exchanges and a real dynamic within the Caribbean [...] On the one hand, we will have flows of patients from the Caribbean who will benefit from healthcare services in the French Territories of Guadeloupe and Martinique. On the other hand, the practitioners of our health entities will maintain a level of activity which will enable them to develop their competences while giving patients of the OECS Member States access to medical facilities that are very important to them," Director of the Regional Health Agency of Guadeloupe Valérie Denux stated.
The INTERREG CARES project is a joint opportunity for our French and English speaking OECS member States to use funds to increase the availability of specialised services for all. Head of the OECS Health Unit Dr. Carlene Radix said.
"The two university hospitals in Martinique and Guadeloupe have a relatively limited domestic patient area. They must absolutely open up to the region to promote their expertise in healthcare and the excellence of French medicine in the wider Caribbean, but also to be able to share these advanced services with a level of activity that will sustain the competence of our teams," Director of International Cooperation for the Martinique University Hospital Christiane Bourgeois explained.
To ensure better access to French health systems, the project is facilitating the implementation of harmonised fees and billing procedures, the coordination of medical data sharing and the creation of a unique identification number for patients of the OECS.