Saint Lucia made its presence felt at the 9th Council of Health Ministers meeting held in the British Virgin Islands. The nation was represented by its Minister of Health and its Chief Medical Officer.
The representatives described the experience as a productive four-day event where multiple aspects of the medical apparatus of Caribbean nations were discussed. The meetings were held between October 9th and 12th and brought many dignitaries and medical professionals together.
The Minister for Health and Social Development of the British Virgin Islands, Vincent O. Wheatley chaired the proceedings. The event began with an opening ceremony on the 9th of October, where Dr. Natalio D. Wheatley, Premier and Minister of Finance was among those who spoke.
Dr. Didacus Jules, OECS Director General also gave his thoughts during the opening addresses. Ms. Roselyne Opel, Head of the OECS-PPS (Pooled Procurement Service) presented the Annual Report for 2023.
The health-related topics discussed were varied and included current challenges and gaps around primary health care and NCD prevention, Epidemiology of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer in the region and the Hearts Initiative, the Epidemiology of Diabetes Mellitus, improving lives through preventative health care, prevention measures and evidence-based solutions.
Another interesting addition to the itinerary was a visit to the state-of-the-art Dr Orlando Smith Hospital which houses 80 beds.
“This visit served as an excellent opportunity to review best in secondary care. Full discussions followed this site visit and a short closing ceremony. Saint Lucia’s Minister for Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs, Hon. Moses Jn. Baptiste took the opportunity to thank the BVI’s Minister for Health for the excellent hospitality, and the Director General of the OECS Dr. Didacus Jules and team from the OECS for the excellent 9th Council of Ministers meeting,” stated Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sharon Belmar-George.
The gist of the story, from the perspective of the representatives was that they got to have a very productive and positive discussion with their contemporaries. This didn’t just expand their respective knowledge bases but also allowed them to explore new perspectives on shared problems.
Hence, the meeting bears the marks of a true collaboration between the many nations of the Caribbean which have always found ways to communicate effectively and stand by each other.