The commercialization of Health care in the Caribbean is one challenge facing regional health care which Dominica’s Prime Minister Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit is hoping can be addressed by International health organizations.
The Prime Minister spoke about his concern when he accepted the letters of credentials of Dr. Merle Lewis the newest PAHO/WHO Representative to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean countries on Friday April 20, 2012.
Prime Minister Skerrit said, “The commercialization of health care has certainly hit the Caribbean and it is making it extremely difficult for the average person to contract the kind of services required to remain healthy”.
The prohibitive cost of health care is also a major concern which the Dominica Prime Minister is hoping that the new PAHO/WHO Representative can address during her current stint.
“We do fall sick from time to time and when one gets on the hospital bed and the doctor expresses what medical treatment you have to go through, the cost of it is very often too much for the average person to handle”.
Prime Minister Skerrit told the PAHO/WHO representative that in recent times many Dominicans have had to access medical services abroad which have become an expensive undertaking for individuals and the state. The Prime Minister spoke candidly about of the gravity of the situation as it relates to Dominican citizens requiring Medical services abroad.
“I get the sense that doctors did more thirty years ago with fewer resources. I find over the last five years there has been a dramatic increase in the number of persons requiring medical services out of Dominica. Our medical facilities are better than they were before and we have access to improved medication. I am not a medical doctor but I am asking myself, why can’t some of those things be done here?
The Dominica Prime minister is also concerned about post surgery treatment for Dominican patients.
“We have an issue with women who have undergone surgery who require post surgery treatment. If that person does not receive that post surgery treatment what happens to them. The cost of post surgery attention can be high. I believe that it is something that PAHO may want to look at”.
Prior to assuming this appointment to Barbados, Dr.Lewis served as the Representative of the Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization to the Commonwealth of the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands, from February, 2008 until her re-assignment to this new posting.
She assumed her duties on August 10, 2011.
Prime Minister Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit promised to provide the necessary support to ensure that Dr.Lewis stint in the region is a fruitful one.
He said “You are coming at a time when there are tremendous health challenges in the Caribbean which are of great concern to regional Governments particularly with regards to Chronic Non-communicable diseases”.
The WHO is the specialized agency for health within the United Nations.