Washington, March 7, 2017-Mary Isaac, the Minister of Health and Wellness of St. Lucia, is on a two-day visit to Pan American Health Organization headquarters here to explore health collaboration and outline work on priority public health issues for her island country.
"PAHO has been very instrumental in giving us necessary support after hurricane events, and we are working closely on issues such as immunization, universal health coverage, and prevention of diabetes and other non-communicable diseases," she told PAHO's Director Carissa Etienne at a meeting with key staff.
St. Lucia, a Caribbean country with 170,000 people, is developing a new strategic plan to expand health coverage to all, and has rolled out electronic health records systems to 32 health centers that include syndromic surveillance and immunization records.
Cancer, heart disease and stroke are the top causes of death in St. Lucia, and rates of diabetes, including foot amputations in advanced cases, are a of great concern to the government, the minister said. As health achievements, the minister highlighted that immunization coverage is 95 percent, and St. Lucia has eliminated measles and rubella, and mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
St. Lucia will continue working with PAHO on health financing and universal health coverage, operating and sustaining its two major hospitals, and looking at ways to increase health tourism as a source of financing, she noted.