‘Restructure Caribbean healthcare’
Regional leaders at the CARICOM summit in Suriname
Regional leaders at the CARICOM summit in Suriname

– CARICOM leaders conclude following regional summit

WITH several countries entering the post-pandemic recovery stage, Heads of Governments of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) recognised that this recovery is an opportunity to restructure healthcare services across the Caribbean.

This was revealed following the recently concluded 43rd Regular Meeting of the Conference of CARICOM Heads of Government, held in Suriname.
During the meeting, regional leaders acknowledged that COVID-19 remains a pandemic as a substantial number of cases are still being reported across the Caribbean Region.

As such, they commended the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) for its continued response to COVID-19 in line with its mandate.
As countries advance towards recovery while focusing on building resilience in the event of future outbreaks, the impact of COVID showed that a “whole-of-government” and society approach was needed which balanced economic recovery programmes and public health measures.

With that, it was further emphasised that vaccination, strengthened health systems, and responsible individual behaviours, among other things, were essential to the successful navigation through this current phase of the pandemic.

In its official Communiqué following the Heads of Government meeting, regional leaders called for multilateral financial institutions to recognise the Region’s urgent need for assistance as it is critical for member states to strengthen social safety nets.

“Heads of Government emphasised that this support was critical as there was genuine suffering and hardship being experienced by a significant number of people in the Region,” the official document said.
Additionally, it was noted that measures should be put in place to reduce the impact of COVID-19 while considering the incidences of long COVID which possibly results in an increase in chronic illness and disability. This, in turn, could burden the Region’s healthcare system.

Against this backdrop, the Heads of Government noted that as the health sector moves toward recovery after COVID-19, it was an opportunity to restructure healthcare services and public health programmes.
Further, the lessons learned during the pandemic should be used to respond to re-emerging and new diseases which may result in pandemics.

To this end, regional leaders further recognised the outcome of the Ninth Summit of the Americas which addressed health and resilience in the Americas along with other areas. However, the concern was raised by Caribbean leaders that as it relates to the outcomes from the summit, those did not adequately reflect issues of significance to the Caribbean community like post-pandemic recovery.

Among other sectors or issues agreed upon and communicated in the official outcomes document, the regional leaders agreed to accept recommendations from the Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) relating to region’s security situation.
Caribbean leaders also agreed to convene a meeting of the conference to address crime and violence as a public health issue.


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