World Bank Supports Health Systems Strengthening within the Caribbean
St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) is one of the sub-regional countries benefiting from a multi-million dollar World Bank health sector facility.
The Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Regional Health Project has committed more than US$40 million to expand health facilities and laboratory capacities. According to a bank press release, it will also boost public health systems and emergency management, institutional capacity building, project management and coordination, and contingency emergency response.
Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission are among the project’s beneficiaries.
The Small Island Caribbean developing countries are particularly exposed to the challenges posed by climate change, ranging from rising sea levels, storms, and floods to higher temperatures and the intensity of altering weather patterns. The project helps these OECS countries safeguard themselves from the terrible effects of disasters, pandemics, and emergencies.
The project’s beneficiaries gathered from December 12-14, 2022, at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad, for the 7th regional project advisory and mid-term review meeting. Dr Joy St John, CARPHA’s executive director, shared some of the project’s accomplishments, noting that “we have executed several contracts, serviced and purchased equipment, engaged several consultants, ramped up our communications outreach, and contributed, not just to the pandemic response, but most importantly, to improving the resilience of public health services across the Region.”
Director, surveillance, disease, prevention and control, at CARPHA, Dr Lisa Indar, expressed the agency’s “appreciation to all members for their strong commitment to this project, despite the challenges encountered and the increased workload involved in our robust response to the ongoing pandemic and regional public health”.
Human development programme leader with the World Bank, Timothy Johnston, meanwhile, acknowledged that “under the OECS Regional Health Project, all six entities are making valuable investments and strengthening their health systems, particularly in the areas of surveillance, laboratories, work force development and emergency management”.
Faith Harry-Jn Baptiste, project manager for the OECS Commission, stated that “significant strides have been made towards the development of an inventory and Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping of emergency and critical care facilities and services, harmonized registration of health professionals; and has advanced efforts towards the creation of a multi-sectoral, multi-hazard emergency preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery system.”