Health conference in St. Kitts to make positive impact on Caribbean health sectors

From SKNIS

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – Health professionals, researchers, policy makers and other public health officials from across the Caribbean region, Latin America, North America and Europe gathered to mark the opening of the 63rd CARPHA Health Research Conference at the St. Kitts Marriot June 14-16.

The June 14 ceremony at the Royal St. Kitts Hotel featured a number of officials, including Minister of Health the Honourable Eugene Hamilton; Executive Director of CARPHA Dr. James Hospedales; Deputy Prime Minister the Hon. Shawn Richards; St. Kitts and Nevis’ Chief Medical Officer Dr. Hazel Laws; Junior Minister of Health in the Nevis Island Administration the Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams; and permanent secretaries in the Ministry of Health.

“The Honourable Timothy Harris extends his apologies for his absence, however, he has asked me to let you know that he is especially honoured to have the opportunity to work closely with many of you and advise your cause in his capacity as CARICOM lead head for health, human resource development and HIV,” said Minister Richards, who was tasked with delivering the feature address on behalf of the prime minister. He welcomed the delegation of health officials and other guests in attendance and wished them a successful conference in the days to come.

“Our Team Unity government and people are delighted to welcome all of you who work tirelessly to help to prevent diseases, prolong our lives and promote healthy practices and lifestyles,” he said. “We are therefore pleased to have you in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.”

Minister Hamilton expressed his pleasure of working with CARPHA on this conference as it was a fitting time because of the strides being made in the federation to provide universal health care. “I am indeed pleased that we were able to partner with CARPHA to host this conference at this time when we in St. Kitts and Nevis are taking steps to establish a mechanism for delivering health care for all under the universal health care programme,” he said.

He also said that the theme for this year – “Sustainable Health Systems for Economic Growth, Development and Wealth” – fosters discussions on critical issues such as health insurance systems, health financing and financial implications for individuals, institutions and nation states.

Dr. James Hospedales expressed in his remarks the important role CARPHA plays in the region not only with the hosting of the conference but also the work that will follow over the next year. “CARPHA plays a very important role in hosting this conference and in a number of other ways such as training, capacity building, research, the translation of research into policy and policy dialogues,” he said.

The opening ceremony also featured the launch of the Stop Epidemics There and Here (SETH) Fund, which was created to provide financial support and assistance to CARPHA and its member states to manage outbreaks and emergencies.

The conference featured sessions on noncommunicable diseases, health systems policy and planning, strengthening global cancer research and control, and communicable disease surveillance and prevention.