Basseterre, St. Kitts, August 10, 2017 (SKNIS): The introduction of a National Health Care System has been a priority on the agenda for the government of St. Kitts and Nevis said the Honourable Eugene Hamilton, Minister with responsibility for National Insurance, at the Sitting of the National Assembly held on August 10, 2017.
The minister explained that the National Health Insurance Scheme is a system of shared contributions and pre-payment by persons for an array of health services to meet the health needs of a population. He also noted that the programme is designed to increase efficiency in the health care system and to prove mutually beneficial for all stakeholders in the long-term.
“It is our belief that the wealth of a nation, is the health of a nation,” said Minister Hamilton, as he noted that producing a “comprehensive” National Insurance Plan is a top priority of the government before the end of the first term in office.
He highlighted that the government, specifically the Ministry of Health will collaborate with relevant stakeholders such as the St. Kitts and Nevis Social Security Board, the University of the West Indies, and other organizations to ensure the efficiency and affordability of the National Health Insurance Scheme.
The minister said that although the anticipated cost of the programme may be high, it can be made affordable through proper planning, collaboration and implementation of efficient services that will help to sustain it. He also stated that the country is already spending a significant amount on health care and noted that in 2011, health care cost was approximated at EC$117 billion dollars.
He outlined his reasoning for the implementation of a National Health Care System stating that “many persons, because of limited earnings, are without health insurance and lack the full access to health care.” He also conveyed that the rise in chronic diseases and the cost associated with proper care systems to combat these diseases further fuels the need for a National Health Care Scheme. “Government alone cannot cover all the cost of care for everyone,” he added.
The minister also gave a global perspective, linking Universal Healthcare as the progressive approach by governments to ultimately provide “barrier free access to quality health services to all persons.”
“Our approach is that in the end there will be no person left behind,” said Minister Hamilton, as he expressed the government’s commitment in seeing the National Health Insurance Scheme become a reality for the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.