The right to public health

15 March 2017
Lloyquita Symmonds, BPSU, Bahamas
The PSI’s Right to Health campaign provides an all-important platform for Caribbean affiliates to galvanise their attention and action on the myriad issues facing health workers and Caribbean peoples.

Having achieved noteworthy advances in the health status of Caribbean populations over the years, providing quality health services with ever-increasing costs of drugs and care results in greater challenges. This situation is fuelling the call from development partners for more Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) in health.

During the 2017 Sub-Regional Advisory Committee (SUBRAC) meeting in Kingston, Jamaica, PSI’s affiliates representing workers in all disciplines of health care reviewed and discussed the outcomes of the December 2016 meeting of the Health and Social Care Task Force. Affiliates whole-heartedly support the Right to Health campaign, noting especially that health-care financing in the Caribbean is a central issue. Affiliates also recognised the central and coordinating role played by national governments as well as the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA). As a first step in its work, the sub-region’s Health and Social Care Services Steering Group will foster PSI’s relations with the Agency, defending the agenda for public health care in the Caribbean.

The Caribbean Cooperation in Health (CCH) is the regional framework through which Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) cooperate with each other, regional institutions, and development partners to improve the health and wellbeing of Caribbean peoples. The aim is to promote collective and collaborative action to solve critical health problems that are best addressed through a regional approach. In 2016, Caribbean health officials and other stakeholders agreed on priority areas for a new phase (Phase 4) of the CCH:

  1. Health Systems for Universal Health Coverage
  2. Safe, resilient, healthy environments to mitigate climate change
  3. Health and well-being of Caribbean people throughout the life course
  4. Data and evidence for decision-making and accountability
  5. Partnership and resource mobilization for health

This phase is also aligned to the sustainable development goals as well as regional development plans for the achievement of the global goals, especially Goal 3.

Winnifred Meeks (JALGO), the sub-region’s health and social care representative on the HSSTF says,

“We all have our individual country issues and we do recognise that country action is very important. At the same time, we cannot ignore the fact that decisions made at regional level and the resulting regional policy, guide what happens in our individual countries. Therefore we plan to approach this campaign at the CARICOM level as well as at country level.”  

July 2 is the Caribbean Public Health Day. Caribbean PSI affiliates will formally launch their campaign on that day.

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