St. Kitts and Nevis welcomes the opportunity to present the perspective of a small island nation in the Eastern Caribbean supporting the theme “Health for all: commit to Universal Health Coverage”.
This important commitment demands that we bring focus to preventative mechanisms as a means to:-
- Improve health, rather than maintaining current suboptimal health, diseases and illnesses
- Reduce health care costs
- Promote preventative over intrusive disease and illness management methods and
- Achieve lower mortality and lower morbidity outcomes
To achieve these high ideals, we have partnered with the University of the West Indies Health Economics Unit, to design and implement a program that is supported by our citizens and residents; one that is sustainable technically and financially
The team is currently on the ground undertaking the task of engaging all stakeholders, gathering data, preparing a plan, all geared towards recommending options to the Cabinet
For us in St. Kitts and Nevis, Universal Health Coverage for all meets the high bar of a fundamental right, in view of the fact that Global political decisions about food, nutrition and medication have had their direct adverse impact on Global health.
Nation states therefore must take the responsibility to ensure mitigation against the escalating Healthcare costs and effects of such decisions, and should at every turn, engage in influencing such decisions for the benefit of mankind.
In St. Kitts & Nevis, Universal Health Care Coverage, will entail the provision of a package of essential health services that are accessible to all citizens across the life course for communicable and non- communicable diseases.
We have sought partnership with our oldest ally “the Republic of China on Taiwan” to introduce a Chronic Kidney Disease Programme to address the growing need for Haemodialysis; that should result in the decreasing need for costly and intrusive responses to Renal diseases.
Universal Health Coverage necessitates an adequate health information system, and recruitment of appropriate human resources to deliver quality healthcare services. Here again our reliable ally, Taiwan has already partnered with us in establishing the critical infrastructure that meets that objective.
In that regard I express my thanks to the Republic of China on Taiwan for providing us with the expertise as an experienced Global partner in delivering Universal Health Coverage to their citizens and residents. We look forward to their support not only in our country but in this global setting if only because disease knows no borders.
It is why I add my voice in support of the twenty-three million people of Taiwan being included in this global, non-political partnership under the command of what is an otherwise august body. I call it inclusion over exclusion
My country needs and seeks significant resource support to bolster the core capacities to effectively respond to epidemics of NCDs and Addictions, Climate Change, New and Re-Emerging Infections, and Chemical and Radio-nuclear accidents.
Key brokers in this regard include organizations such as the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), and the Global Fund to whom we appeal for active support.
Let me place on record, my country’s profound appreciation for financial and other support provided by the people and governments of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Japan, Australia, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina over many years, however at this critical juncture, our needs to implement UHC, are more profound than ever, at a time when the demands on our scarce resources constrain us.
We are not graduated from catastrophic disasters like those which wiped out Barbuda and crippled Dominica in 2017.
In fact in 2015, a deluge in Dominica ravaged; and a drought in St. Kitts reduced crop production by 32%. Two monsters of different character but same catastrophic result. We are not graduated; we are vulnerable and need your active support
I therefore conclude by pointing out that instituting Universal Health Coverage in St. Kitts and Nevis requires the sustained provision of targeted technical and other assistance; and I encourage WHO through its partners PAHO and CARPHA, to walk this journey with us; help us build human and institutional capacity now, right now. Helps us walk the talk
Ultimately with your help, Universal Health Coverage will reduce the burden of preventable illness and death, and foster better health outcomes.