Despite “skyrocketing health care costs” over the last 20 years, Government will continue to invest heavily in primary health care.
This assurance came from Health Minister John Boyce last Friday, as he addressed an Open Day ceremony at the Eunice Gibson Polyclinic at Warrens, St. Michael.
Mr. Boyce told his audience that Barbados currently expended in excess of five per cent of Gross Domestic Product on health care, which was above the recommended minimum from the World Health Organization.
“The nine polyclinics and two outpatient clinics situated across the island represent our investment in the primary health care system. The opening of the new public health laboratory will further improve our capacity to respond to the old and new health issues that continue to emerge,” he stated.
The Health Minister described the polyclinics as the backbone of the health system and pledged that Government would continue to ensure that these services were available without charge at point of access.
Primary health care, he submitted, played a vital role not only in providing access to free health care at the point of service, but also as a principal point of interaction for individuals within the healthcare system.
Mr. Boyce maintained: “A strong primary healthcare system acts as gatekeeper and partner to secondary and tertiary care. As we invest in the primary healthcare system, we are better able to provide health services that respond to the needs of the communities we serve.”
Government contributed in excess of $35 million annually to the primary healthcare system, he disclosed.
And Mr. Boyce asserted that as dialogue continued among key stakeholders to identify programmes and policies that would lead to sustainable financing of public health services while ensuring universal health coverage, Government’s mandate remained the same – to provide quality health care to individuals and communities, while providing financial risk protection.