by Eulana Weekes
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Health and its importance to the sustainable development of a country will be the main focus for the 7th annual Growth and Resilience Dialogue.
According to Sybil Welsh, Senior Project Specialist at the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, the Dialogue will be held on April 25 to 26, 2023, focusing on three health topics.
“This year, we are honing in on healthcare under the theme An appropriate and Sustainable model for healthcare in the ECCU/OECS focusing on agile infrastructure, traditional medicine and medicinal cannabis, and these areas that we are covering under healthcare [are] really important. We hear the old adage “Health is Wealth”, but it really is. Health impacts every aspect of all of our lives in our productive sectors. Think about it; if you need to be productive, you need to be healthy.”
Welsh added, “There’s also the fiscal issue because Governments are the ones [that] are financing significant amounts of healthcare cost; and so one would want to look at, not only at the curative aspect of it but the preventative aspect of it. “How can we mitigate this?” So we have also to look at the technology aspect as we’re talking about costs. “How can technology make us more agile or more able to move with the changing of times?” We know that change is the only constant right now.
The Growth and Resilience Dialogue is timely as St. Kitts and Nevis and other islands such as St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Antigua and Barbuda seek to develop a Medicinal Cannabis Industry. Also, in St. Kitts and Nevis, the Government has informed of its plan to digitise the health system and improve the whole sector with new and modern technology and specialists.
Welsh suggests that “regular people” can benefit greatly from the discussion through knowledge sharing and transformation that will take place in the health sector.
“For one, we’re discussing issues that we would want those who have the power to address, to see [the] policies, processes and systems that can be modified, improved and enhanced, as a result of the issues tabled at this discussion. So, as constituents of the region, we benefit when those changes come about, and change comes about through discourse, through advocacy and through information gathering; and that really is the crux of what we are doing. We also have practitioners in the field that will talk about their history, their knowledge, their expertise, which would lend to transformation going across the eight member countries of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union, the wider OECS and the wider CARICOM.
Welsh is hopeful that shared knowledge and expertise will help member countries to collaborate on the way forward.