Castries, Saint Lucia: The COVID-19 Steering Committee, along with other officials, stakeholders and PAHO representatives, gathered to discuss Saint Lucia’s COVID-19 response on October 27, 2023, at the Cocoa Palm Hotel.
The meeting was held for five days to talk about the pandemic After-Action Review. The review aimed to examine the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and to strengthen the administration for future pandemics.
The Action Review is an important element of the International Health Regulations, Evaluation Framework and Monitoring to expand the transparency and accountability between the countries with the World Health Organization Secretariat.
Sharon Belmar-George, who is serving as the Chief Medical Officer, considered Saint Lucia as the First country in the region to request an After-Action Review after COVID-19.
She further added that their health system has grown due to the COVID-19 pandemic as they got to know what steps to be taken to improve the healthcare system.
Unfortunately, the sad part of that particular period was the deaths and hospitalizations of the people. However, various measures are being taken to enhance the health facility.
PAHO’s Dr Oscar Mesones Lapouble highlighted that the review is not only a process; it serves as an indication of a nation’s dedication to continuous improvement and willingness for the future.
He further marked that the island is continuing to display its hegemony in the public health sectors through Saint Lucia’s coalition with PAHO for the After-Action Review. Their alliance will also act as a beacon for other nations as well.
From the expeditious mobilization of resources to the industrious efforts of the primary health care professionals, Saint Lucia’s adherence to safeguarding and securing the health and well-being of its people has been noticeable since the crisis.
The nation’s response is laudable and inspirational, as the learning from this journey has been one of transformation and flexibility. The country showed the spirit of reflection and growth to other nations.
It is vitally important that both alliances reflect and learn in their collective fight against health emergencies. This review offers an opportunity to combine the wisdom achieved from the life experience.
There is a need to maintain and identify the profits and mark the areas that need reinforcement.
Remarks of Tessa Inglis
Tessa Inglis, who is serving as the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs, marked that the participants were allowed to put their points of view in the review, and their frankness and openness were welcomed during the discussion.
She stated that the Ministry has also been ready to respond to the pandemic’s challenges to public health emergencies. They had revised their approaches to cope with the new and emerging threats.
The Ministry works in a way forward regarding the implementation of Universal Health Coverage as there is a need to arrange everything in the right direction of the healthcare sector.