OECS considering regional health insurance scheme

A regional insurance scheme to benefit nationals of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) is under consideration.

The matter was at the top of the agenda of a recent meeting of Ministers of Health of the OECS region in St. Kitts where the Pharmaceutical Procurement Service (PPS) was also discussed.

According to the OECS website, the core function of the service is the pooled procurement of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies for nine Ministries of Health of the OECS countries.

The continuous annual cost-savings accrued after 16 years of the joint purchasing arrangement have reinforced it as an excellent cost-benefit model of economic and functional cooperation among OECS member countries, and ministers have agreed that a similar approach to healthcare financing would benefit citizens of the Eastern Caribbean.

“This is a prime example of how regional cooperation can benefit the individual and member states,” said Dominica’s Minister for Health Dr. Kenneth Darroux.

“Every country, not just Dominica, has been lamenting the issue of healthcare financing and the availability of standard healthcare for all . . . We think that if we tally the resources which we use under these programmes and pool it, we can invest in an insurance scheme which would be valid for all our OECS citizens.”

Darroux and his St. Lucian counterpart have been chosen to lead the drafting of a document to present the case for the regional health insurance scheme when Heads of Government meet later this month.

The establishment of centres of excellence across the region is also another idea which is being closely examined.

Darroux said Antigua has led the way in establishing a cancer centre and it was discussed at the meeting that each island consider an area of medicine and construct their own centres of excellence.

Caribbean 360


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