St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) is among countries in the sub-region that are benefitting from a World Bank multi-million health sector facility.
The more than US$40 million has been provided under the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Regional Health Project, to improve health facilities and laboratory capacities. It is also to strengthen public health systems and emergency management, institutional capacity building, project management and coordination, and contingency emergency response, a release from the bank states.
Project beneficiaries include Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission.
Small Island Developing States within the Caribbean are particularly vulnerable to threats posed by climate change – from rising sea levels, hurricanes and floods, to increased temperatures and intensity of changing weather patterns. The project provides support to these OECS states to protect themselves from the devastating impact of disasters, pandemics and emergencies.
Beneficiaries of the project came together from December 12-14, 2022 at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad for the 7th regional project advisory and mid-term review meeting. Executive director of CARPHA, Dr Joy St John shared some of the project gains, noting that “we have executed several contracts, serviced and purchased equipment, engaged several consultants, ramped up our communications outreach and contributed, not just to the pandemic response, but most critically towards improving the resilience of public health services across the Region.”
Director, surveillance, disease, prevention and control, at CARPHA, Dr Lisa Indar, expressed the agency’s “appreciation to all members for their strong commitment to this project, despite the challenges encountered and the increased workload involved in our robust response to the ongoing pandemic and regional public health”.
Human development programme leader with the World Bank, Timothy Johnston, meanwhile, acknowledged that “under the OECS Regional Health Project, all six entities are making valuable investments and strengthening their health systems, particularly in the areas of surveillance, laboratories, work force development and emergency management”.
And, project manager, OECS Commission, Faith Harry-Jn Baptiste, indicated that “under the OECS Regional Health Project, significant strides have been made towards the development of an inventory and Geographic Information System(GIS) mapping of emergency and critical care facilities and services, harmonized registration of health professionals; and has advanced efforts towards the creation of a multi-sectoral, multi-hazard emergency preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery mechanism within the Region”.
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