Saint Lucia: Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs Ministry Moses Jn Baptiste and Chief Medical Officer Dr Sharon Belmar George attended the 43rd meeting of the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) in Washington, DC, the USA, from September 23-25, 2022. The main objective of the meeting was to provide updates to the Ministers for Health and Senior Health Officials on health sector initiatives that are being implemented.
The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) presented an update on the COVID-19 pandemic and the Monkey situation in the region. They also presented the status of implementation of Caribbean Cooperation in Health CCH 1V and reported on the CARPHA Executive Board.
The other regional cooperation matters included updates on the vaccine distribution through COVAX and updates on communication campaigns to address vaccine hesitancy. The Caribbean Cardiac Society presented the regional strategy to address acute myocardial Infarction.
One of the serious issues affecting the provision of safe, quality health care in the region is the shortage of health-related human resources. The Pan American Health Organisation PAHO presented interventions to strengthen the human resources for health response to health emergencies, including COVID-19 and emerging pandemics in the Caribbean. This led to extensive discussion on various strategies utilized to manage nursing and other health-related shortages.
PANCAP presented on the domestic financing of HIV and updated the group on law reform for gender-based violence and stigma and discrimination. These important agenda items were discussed in detail among the CARICOM member states and regional public health agencies to provide timely resolution and strengthen regional cooperation.
During the meeting, Dr Carissa Etienne, Director of the PAHO, was given a standing ovation from the CARICOM Ministers of Health for her sterling leadership as her second consecutive term ended.