Today, Monday, September 23rd, 2019, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) is holding a high-level meeting on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) under the theme Moving Together to Build a Healthier World.
Prime Minister Harris, in his presentation to the UNGA, said, “We believe that no one should have to skip taking a potentially life-saving scan or other procedure because of the cost, neither should they have to declare bankruptcy because of an expensive illness; and above all, we believe that equal access to healthcare is a basic human right. My administration has moved to protect that right.”
Outlining his administration’s achievements in removing barriers to healthcare access in St. Kitts and Nevis, Prime Minister Harris also said, “We have therefore removed value added tax (VAT) on medicines, introduced health information systems at our public health institutions, and enhanced access to mental healthcare and treatment. Additionally, we have established an oncology unit at our main hospital, all in an effort to increase access to healthcare services.”
The Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis added: “St. Kitts and Nevis’ success in eliminating mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV and syphilis inspires us to believe that commitment plus resources can generate success.”
Prime Minister Harris encouraged and challenged the global community, saying: “We need not only a whole of society approach but also a whole world approach to honour our commitment to the SDGs. We need more done on climate change mitigation and resilience. Recent weather incidents in the Caribbean and most recently in the Bahamas show how easily health systems can be compromised through natural disasters. Therefore, small island developing states, irrespective of their GDP per capita and UN Human Development Index, will be unable to finance Universal Health Coverage without solidarity and global support.”
The Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis serves as lead spokesman for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on Human Resources, Health and HIV/AIDS.
The St. Kitts and Nevis delegation to the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly includes Minister of Foreign Affairs and Aviation, the Honourable Mark Brantley; St. Kitts and Nevis’ Ambassador to the United Nations, His Excellency Sam Condor; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Kaye Bass; Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Mr. Andrew Skerritt; Director in the Office of the Prime Minister, Ms. Chelesa Rawlins; Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of St. Kitts and Nevis to the United Nations, Ms. Ghislaine Williams; Second Secretaries at the Permanent Mission, Ms. Asha DeSuza and Ms. Coreentje Phipps-Benjamin, and Press Secretary, Ms. Valencia Grant.