BARBADOS is one of three countries in the Americas to become a member of the executive board of the World Health Assembly (WHA).
Minister of Health Donville Inniss said the "lobbying efforts and negotiations" between Barbados and PAHO had paid off. He said Barbados would be joined by the United States of America and Ecuador in Geneva, Switzerland, next week for the special yearly meeting.
"The Cabinet of Barbados took a decision last year that Barbados should vie for one of the vacant seats in this commonwealth since the third World Health Assembly in Geneva. I leave this weekend accompanied by the Chief Medical Officer of health Dr Joy St John and Dr Elizabeth Ferdinand.
The team is expected to attend the commonwealth health ministers' meeting on Sunday, at which time there will be a CARICOM health meeting between health ministers from the region.
This will be followed by the World Health Assembly meetings, which run from Monday to Friday, then there will be the executive board's first meeting next Saturday, all in Geneva.
The minister was talking to reporters after a meeting with representatives from the Pan American Health Organisation/ World Health Organisation for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.
He said his ministry met with the PAHO officials in an effort to review the work programmes going on between the two entities.
He said he was very appreciative of the support his ministry received from PAHO over the years.
"We have benefited tremendously in terms of our technical corporation programmes.
"There have been great opportunities for staff in the Ministry of Health to get further training . . . through participation in regional and international meetings as well as the ministry as a whole to benefit from consultancies.
"Generally speaking, activities are designed to help us improve the public health system in Barbados. This relationship, I am sure, will be deepened," he said.
PAHO/WHO representative for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Gina Watson, said Barbados had become a point from which technical and public health measures were shared with other countries in the region, "subsequently contributing to their development".
She said the new post would provide a voice to the Caribbean in helping to make decisions on worldwide resolutions which affect policies on public health globally.
The health minister said in addition to a set agenda, the assembly would be reviewing the millennium goals.
He also reported that Barbados would also be sitting on the committee for programming, budgeting and planning for PAHO, among others. (MM)
Report from Daily Nation 5/13/2010