Final meeting of the University of West Indies team that consulted with the Federation to prepare its Universal Health Care (UHC) Programme. Seen here, (left to right) UWI Economist Charmaine Metivier; UHC Coordinator Clifford Griffin; Health Financial Specialist at the St. Augustine Campus, Dr. Stanley Lalta; and UHC Chair, Azilla Clarke.

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts -– The St. Kitts and Nevis National Commission for Universal Health Care (SKNNCUHC) has thanked the Health Economics Unit at the Centre for Health and Economics, University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine Campus in Trinidad for invaluable support and help to shape the Universal Health Care coverage programme.

Last year, UWI Health Economics Unit officials were involved with the programme, giving advice and sharing best practices with the commission. They collected feedback from persons and stakeholder groups about the proposed healthcare initiative.

On Jan. 30, government and UWI officials met for a concluding meeting. SKNNCUHC Chair, Azilla Clarke, said, “It was a blessing” to have had the support of the UWI unit.

“They have left us with a lot of information; they have left us with a lot of reports which we can now use to inform the blueprint that will be our submission to the Federal Cabinet as to how then do we move to implementation,” said Ms. Clarke. “… We feel comfortable in doing so because not only did we learn the book sense, but we have a greater understanding of what it would mean on the ground to the individual Kittitian and Nevisian, and I think that makes the best policy approach.”

During the design phase the UWI team proposed the benefit package; reviewed the capacity of the health system to deliver on the benefit package; and assessing the local macroeconomic system in the Federation in consideration of the financing arrangements that will be necessary.

“Good health does not come naturally. Good health is not automatic for individuals or for the country,” said Dr. Stanley Lalta, Health Financial Specialist at the St. Augustine Campus. “Good health takes effort and it also takes some investments so one must be prepared to make that kind of investment to protect your good health, to improve your good health.”

Dr. Lalta said nationals should look at their contributions to the national health care programme as “a way of investing in your health.”

Having fulfilled their contractual mandate, the UWI team will leave the Federation next week.