Baird And Permanent Secretary Report On Meetings

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By admin October 21, 2011 08:41

Baird And Permanent Secretary Report On Meetings

Minister of Social Development and Health, Edison Baird, and his Permanent Secretary, Dr. Bonnie Richardson-Lake, attended two meetings in Montserrat. One was the OECS Pharmaceutical Procurement Service Board (PPS) meeting and the other the Ministers’ of Health meeting.

Mrs. Bonnie Richardson-Lake and Hon. Edison Baird
Mrs. Bonnie Richardson-Lake and Hon. Edison Baird

Mr. Baird said he was pleased to have attended both meetings. He recalled that when he became a Minister in the mid-90s Anguilla joined the Eastern Caribbean Drug Service as it was called at that time.

“I am very pleased that, because we joined, we get our generic drugs considerably cheaper than the brand-name drugs and this has resulted in Anguilla saving millions of dollars over the years,” Mr. Baird stated.
“In regard to the Health Ministers’ meeting, we recognise that there was a commonality of difficulties facing all of the islands and we took certain resolutions as to how we should approach these difficulties,” he said.

Dr. Richardson-Lake said the Pharmaceutical Procurement Service Board meeting focused on some of the difficulties relating to collection of payments. “One of the big issuesdiscussed over and over was the difficulties countries are having coming up with the moneys to cover the cost of the drugs,” she explained. “When they don’t pay into the PPS account, then PPS can’t pay their suppliers; orders are delayed and, of course, it reflects poorly on PPS. In fact, some of the major suppliers have actually dropped out.
“We were trying to look at strategies for topping up the PPS account and, … some resolutions were drawn up in terms of having countries prioritise payments to PPS.

“The focus of the OECS Ministers of Health meeting was a lot of discussion on chronic non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease, and strategies for dealing with those health issues. The other matter that was discussed at length was national health financing.

“Lots of countries are currently looking at some form of national health insurance. We had some discussions on that topic and we looked at some of the initiatives being taken in the various countries in the region.”

Asked what were some of the challenges facing Anguilla, in terms of implementing a National Health Fund, the Permanent Secretary replied: “It takes a considerable amount of capital in start-up costs. We would need to invest in things like an information system, hiring of staff including a Director and a Board which come at a cost. We also need to look at what type of services we are going to contract to provide overseas care, an issue we are looking at right now.”

On the question of payments for medication, Mr. Baird noted that another difficulty was that even though an island might pay on time, if other islands were delinquent the PPS would not order the drugs without payments. He thought it was very unfair for some islands, which had met all of their payment obligations, to be penalised.“Steps have been made to circumvent this difficulty. How successful it would be I simply do no know,” he said.

The Minister and the Permanent Secretary observed that if the system would work as it was designed to function, it would result in considerable savings by all the islands. According to Miinster Baird: “We in Anguilla are up to date, but that still doesn’t help us if other countries are not up to date if the drugs are not paid for. It is like a revolving system: the account has to be constantly replenished. We replenished ours, but if the other countries consistently fail to put their monies in, even though our behaviour is perfectly recommendable, it doesn’t really help us.”

 

admin
By admin October 21, 2011 08:41

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