Caribbean Meeting on NCD Medicines
Health authorities from 16 Caribbean countries and representatives from the Pan American Health Organizations (PAHO) Non Communicable Disease ( NCD) and Medicines programmes gathered for two days to discuss the barriers and solutions to improve quality, availability and equitable access to NCD medicines, including opioids, in the Caribbean. This meeting was convened, with a view to achieving the global and regional targets established for NCD management. Anguilla was represented by NCD Director for Chronic Disease Mrs. Twyla Bradshaw-Richardson and Mrs. Doreen Bucknor Coordinator of Pharmaceutical Services at Health Authority of Anguilla who is also responsible for drug procurement in Anguilla.
The meeting was facilitated by the PAHO Unit of Noncommunicable Diseases (NMH/ND) of the Department of Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health (NMH) and the Unit of Medicines and Health Technologies (HSS/MT) of the Department of Health Systems and Services (HSS).
Representatives reviewed the global and regional NCD plans of action, and the goals, targets and progress in achieving these commitments. The PAHO Strategic Fund was presented as an excellent opportunity for pooled procurement of essential medicines as well as technical cooperation in all aspects of drug management, including forecasting.
Each country presented on the health service responses for NCD management, the relevant drug policies, and practices. Presentations also included issues affecting access to NCD medicines, information systems that are used for drug management and patient monitoring. The pharmaceutical procurement service of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) was applauded for its 30 year history as a pooled procurement mechanism for essential medicines for the Eastern Caribbean countries/territories. The Barbados pilot project for a standardized hypertension treatment approach was highlighted as a model of care, to improve access to a core set of hypertension medication and improve hypertension control in a population.
At the end of the two days, participants gained a deeper understanding of the gaps, barriers and commonalities that exist in each country. Strategies to address the barriers were defined and a plan developed for PAHO and Member States to work more intensely together to address these identified barriers.
The local participants will schedule a meeting with Ministerial officials and Health Authority Executive team to discuss the next steps for Anguilla. NCDs remain the leading cause of death in Anguilla and the wider Caribbean.
– Press Release
(Published without editing by The Anguillian newspaper.)