This country’s health care system has come in for high praise from the Pan American Health Organization and World Health Organization’s (PAHO/WHO) new Representative to Barbados, Dr Godfrey Xuereb.
During a recent courtesy call on Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean at the ministry’s Culloden Road, St Michael office, he credited Barbados for maintaining an excellent health care system and noted that it was “key for a good health service to reach all the people and to ensure that there was no stigmatization or discrimination between those who can and cannot afford health care”.
She reiterated Government’s commitment to health care and disclosed that Barbados continued to commit significant resources to health and education, given their importance to national development.
“We see the benefits [because] it is really an investment . . . our people are our main resource,” she said.
“In the absence of good health, the whole issue of productivity comes into question and therefore, for us, it is important. We obviously recognize the importance of working with the World Health Organization and PAHO – two critical agencies with which we work nationally and regionally – so it is important for us to be in a position to facilitate you.
The minister alluded to the challenges posed to Caribbean governments’ health budgets by chronic non-communicable diseases (CNCDs).
Acknowledging that battling CNCDs was one of the largest elements of the national budget, she said a disproportionate amount went to addressing obesity and the consequences of diabetes, hypertension and cardiac challenges.
She said it was therefore important to focus on sensitizing Barbadians to the dangers of lifestyle diseases.
“This is also part of our efforts now to address the issue of prevention because that is so critical and it is something that concerns me particularly [in] our youth. Perhaps this is an area in which we need to find opportunities to collaborate,” McClean said.
The two officials also discussed a range of health issues impacting the region and the requisite control measures.
Dr Xuereb, a national of Malta, replaces Dr Ernest Pate, who retired as Caribbean Programme Coordinator and PAHO/WHO representative to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Countries on July 31.