St. Lucia’s Ministry of Health, PAHO Undertake COVID-19 Review

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The COVID-19 Steering Committee along with other stakeholders and officials from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), gathered at the Cocoa Palm Hotel on Oct. 27, for a five-day COVID-19 After Action Review. The review aimed to analyze the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic in order to strengthen preparation for future pandemics.

Dr. Oscar La Pouble.

The After-Action Review is a component of the International Health Regulations, Monitoring and Evaluation Framework, to increase accountability and transparency among countries and with the World Health Organization Secretariat.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sharon Belmar-George said Saint Lucia was the first country in the region to request an After-Action Review following COVID-19.

“In my assessment of Saint Lucia’s COVID-19 process, I have seen where our health system has grown because of it. The sad part were the hospitalizations and the deaths, yet it has served to strengthen the health system and it is important that we sustain the measures that were put in place.”

PAHO’s Dr. Oscar Mesones Lapouble said the review is not just a process, but a testament to a nation’s commitment to continuous improvement and preparedness for the future. He added that through Saint Lucia’s partnership with PAHO for the After-Action Review, the island is continuing to showcase its leadership in public health. The collaboration he said, will not only benefit Saint Lucia but also serve as a beacon for other nations.

“Saint Lucia’s commitment to safeguarding the health and wellbeing of its people has been evident throughout this crisis, from the rapid mobilization of resources to the diligent efforts of health care professionals on the frontline. The nation’s response has been both commendable and inspirational. The learning through this journey has been one of adaptation and resilience. This is exactly the spirit of reflection and growth that has brought us here today.

“In our collective fight against health emergencies, it is imperative that we both reflect and learn. This review is an opportunity to consolidate the wisdom gained from life experience, identify and maintain the gains and address the areas that need reinforcement.”

Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs, Mrs. Tessa Inglis, stated that the frankness and openness of participants were welcomed during the discussions, as the Ministry of Health looks to catalogue the best practices and lessons learned from the pandemic.

“The challenges presented by COVID-19 were unparalleled, and while the Ministry has always been able and ready to respond to public health emergencies, we had to dig deep and revise our approaches to contend to the new and emerging threat. As we chart the way forward toward the implementation of Universal Health Coverage, the need to get everything right in health care has never been more pressing,” she said.

The After Action Review is a qualitative, structured review of the actions taken in response to an actual public health event as a means of identifying and documenting best practices, gaps and lessons.

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