Geneva, 22 May 2018 (PAHO/WHO) - Health ministers and other authorities from the countries that make up the Caribbean Community met with the Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Carissa F. Etienne, to address issues of particular interest to their region.

Noncommunicable diseases, human resources for health, climate change and its impact on health, and the strategic programme of work of the World Health Organization (WHO), were some of the topics covered at this meeting.

Etienne, who began her second term this year, presented her priorities for the next five year-period. Universal health, promoting an equitable health approach for all people living in conditions of vulnerability, as well ensuring that the Region of the Americas reduces mortality from noncommunicable diseases by 25% by the year 2025, are some of those priorities.

The PAHO Director also reminded the delegates from the Caribbean of the importance of the active participation of heads of state at the United Nations High-Level Meeting on Noncommunicable Diseases, to ensure that the policies required to reduce the burden of these diseases are implemented.

Migration of health workers

Another point of discussion at this meeting was the study that PAHO is conducting on the mobility and migration of human resources for health in the Caribbean Region, which will later be shared with the countries so that they can work together on the recommendations.

According to James Fitzgerald, Director of the PAHO's Department of Health Systems and Services, the migration of human resources for health poses a challenge to the sustainability of health services. The initial results show that many human resources trained in the Caribbean migrate to countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States. Fitzgerald described the methodology used and said that the final results will be presented in September of this year.

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has 15 full members, all of which are PAHO Member States. This meeting between CARICOM Health Ministers and the PAHO delegation takes place at each session of the World Health Assembly. The director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), James Hospedales, was also present at this particular meeting.