‘Make health care cheaper’ – says OECS

St. John’s Antigua- OECS member states will soon have to come up with more innovative ways to fund health care for their citizens. This revelation comes amidst concerns that health care in the region is just too expensive.

Head of the OECS Pharmaceuticals Procurement Services Francis Burnett said most of the OECS territories are finding it hard to fund health care from their consolidated budgets.

“Worldwide experiences have shown that countries are beginning to recognise that extra budgetary support is necessary to finance our health care systems,” Burnett said.

He noted that the nine-member grouping might soon have to explore possibilities of a health levy and national health insurance, which has proven to be one of the best methods for sustaining health care in the region.

“The experiences in the OECS and Barbados have shown that it is difficult to finance health care with the current method of financing in the region; in time to come that will be a dominant feature,” Burnett added.

The financing of health care in the region is one of the main agenda items to be discussed at the 15th OECS health ministers meeting to be held this week at the Jolly Beach Resort and Spa.

The heath ministers meeting will follow the management of pharmaceuticals seminar being held at the same venue today.

Approximately 30 delegates are expected to arrive at VC Bird International Airport for this highly anticipated event.

The opening ceremony for both meetings will begin at 9 am this morning.

Health Minister Wilmoth Daniel and Permanent Secretary Edson Joseph said they are optimistic that the sessions will be productive when they join other health ministers and permanent secretaries from across the OECS.