Dr Jules stated that PAHO is a strategic partner for the OECS and extended an invitation for Dr Etienne to attend the OECS Authority meeting in June, when heads of government meet. The Authority is the supreme policy making body of the OECS and is responsible for the general direction and control of the performance and functions of the Organisation.
The OECS Director General congratulated PAHO on the platform on Information Systems for Health and emphasized that the free flow of health information across the Eastern Caribbean is key to the fulfillment of the treaty of Basseterre, for the free movement of persons across the region.
Dr Etienne discussed the issues of human resources for health and ways in which PAHO and the OECS can collaborate in the training of health leadership. She also discussed how PAHO can support the OECS pooled procurement drug service, to continue strengthening the quality assurance within the system. Other areas for collaboration discussed was the achievement of smoke-free spaces across the Eastern Caribbean and the creation of an OECS health insurance system to ensure that the packages of services provided meet the needs of today’s population.
In closing, Dr Jules highlighted the importance of well-trained health care professionals and that the OECS will explore opportunities to do cross ministerial meetings between education and health ministers, so as to develop long term plans to strengthen health systems.