Carissa F. Etienne met today with the Director General of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Dr. Didacus Jules,

Saint Lucia, 2 May 2019 (PAHO/WHO) - The Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Carissa F. Etienne met today with the Director General of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Dr. Didacus Jules, to discuss areas for collaboration.

Dr. Jules stated that PAHO is a strategic partner for the OECS and extended an invitation for Dr Etienne to attend the meeting of the OECS Authority in June, when the heads of government will meet. The Authority is the supreme policy making body of the OECS and is responsible for the general direction and performance of the Organization.

The OECS Director General congratulated PAHO for its Information Systems for Health platform, and emphasized that the free flow of health information across the Eastern Caribbean is a vital element of the Treaty of Basseterre, which ensures freedom of movement across the Region..

Dr Etienne discussed the issues of human resources for health, and ways that PAHO and the OECS can collaborate on health leadership training. She also discussed how PAHO can support the OECS pooled pharmaceutical procurement service, to continue strengthening the system. Other areas for collaboration include the implementation of smoke-free spaces across the Eastern Caribbean, and the creation of an OECS health insurance system that meets the needs of the population. .

In closing, Dr Jules highlighted the importance of well-trained health care professionals and said that the OECS will explore opportunities to carry out cross-ministerial meetings between education and health ministers in order to develop long term plans to strengthen health systems.