Universal Health Care is discussed in Basseterre

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — The St. Kitts and Nevis National Commission for Universal Health Care will continue its series of Town Hall consultations tonight with a session at 7 p.m. at the Anglican Church Hall IN Sandy Point.

Chair of the National Commission, Azilla Clarke, noted that the previous meetings, held in Basseterre on Nov. 12 and Old Road on Nov. 14, yielded some interesting feedback.

Citing Monday’s meeting, Ms. Clarke said questions centred on topics such as: Would people have to give up private insurance and what are the financing options? She noted that the idea of getting value for money i.e. doctors and nurses offering quality service is also important to many of the people attending the consultations.

The meeting in Old Road last Wednesday saw questions relating to coverage for cases of non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension and related conditions.

A comment by a resident about the coverage for housewives caused much food for thought.

“What was interesting from his discourse was the consideration for housewives or people in the home giving house care work,” Ms. Clarke said, noting the growing global movement to quantify such activities. “Based on our system that we have proposed, initially, the only classification for that person would be voluntary, perhaps self-employed, or even unemployed.

“The unemployed section would not be amenable to us because the person is not actually unemployed. There may not be the exchange of wages per se, but it is tangible, quantifiable work that the person is investing, so, with that example, we did note that we have to go back to the drawing board and see how we offer efficacy for that classification of the population because they do valuable work.

“It has been very enlightening to understand what persons’ expectations are of the system [and] what their concerns are, so as we move from Green Paper to White Paper that we can definitely keep these things in mind, to provide a service and a system that will provide for our needs,” Ms. Clarke added.

Town Hall consultations begin in Nevis Nov. 20 with a meeting at the Bath Village Basketball Court. Nov. 21, a consultation will be held at the St. Paul’s Primary School in St. Kitts. Nov. 22, one will be held at the St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Nevis. All consultations start at 7:00 p.m.