Local lifestyles and culture could be biggest challenges to ultimate healthcare and a healthy nation, Sir Molwyn says

Antigua and Barbuda is hosting the 14th Caribbean Conference on National Health Financing Initiatives, which was officially launched on Wednesday, October 19, with an opening ceremony at the Royalton Hotel. 

Minister of Health Sir Molwyn Joseph, the featured speaker, focused on lessons learnt from managing public health, as well as the economic and political challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

He speculated that the lifestyle and culture of our people might be the country’s challenges to achieving ultimate healthcare services and being a healthier nation.

To support this, Joseph said that, based on medical evidence, most of the people who died from COVID were not in good health.

According to the Health Minister, the administration he serves has had to make hard decisions, which he believes the public now appreciates.

Joseph also stressed the importance of universal health care and the benefits this will have for citizens and residents without it being a financial burden. 

Health financing and related design will be the focus of the conference in addition to management and policy-making matters.

The meeting is a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Health; the Medical Benefits Scheme; the University of the West Indies Centre for Health Economics; and the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO).

The main objectives are to enhance professional and institutional capacity and to develop and implement practical solutions for efficient, sustainable health-financing in the Caribbean.

The conference is being held under the theme “Confronting the Financing Challenges of COVID-19 and the Unfinished Universal Health Coverage Agenda.”  It runs from October 19 to 21.