Dr. Yitades Gebre, the newly appointed representative of the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) and World Health Organization (WHO) for Barbados and Eastern Caribbean countries including St. Kitts and Nevis, the French departments of Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guiana, and the United Kingdom overseas territories of Anguilla, British Virgin Islands and Montserrat presented his credentials to the Honourable Mark Brantley, Minister of Foreign Affairs, on Monday during a brief meeting.
Dr. Gebre outlined the goal for St. Kitts and Nevis, which is to ensure that every citizen and resident has access to healthcare, and spoke briefly on the contribution that member states in the region have made with regards to health.
“In the last 50 years of the membership, what member states have done in PAHO is to advance the health agenda in the region. In this regard, our goal is to make sure that every person has access to health and well-being including access to medicine, addressing disease burdens… like communicable diseases and emergencies,” he said, while referring to United Nations Sustainable Development Goal three (SDG 3) which speaks to ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages.
Dr. Gebre and Minister Brantley also discussed the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.
“Our primary goal is to make sure that no human transmission is taking place in our region, in particular in the Caribbean region and so far there are no confirmed cases and with this, we will continue to work with the Ministry of Health and other partners to ensure the preparedness and responses are to the maximum and then attainable,” said Dr. Gebre.
Minister Brantley welcomed Dr. Gebre to the Federation and recognized PAHO/WHO for collaborating closely with the region.
“I wanted to personally extend my gratitude and the government’s gratitude for the assistance and the role that is being played, and to say that we continue to lend our support and continue to look to you for the support that you have given,” said Minister Brantley.
Dr. Gebre, of Jamaica, is an Epidemiologist and Preventative Medicine Specialist with 24 years of public health leadership and management experience. He has worked with health teams and national officials in the Bahamas, Jamaica, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and in 12 Eastern Caribbean countries, where he helped to increase utilization of health services, eliminate barriers to access, reduce health inequalities and improve health outcomes.