Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has told the international community that even with the COVID-19 pandemic, they must not drop the ball on those other global health priorities that are critical to countries’ overall development.
Ms. Mottley made the comments today as she addressed the 73rd Annual World Health Assembly, virtually.
She continued: “I refer specifically to the chronic NCDs – the silent killers (diabetes and cardiovascular disease, hypertension). I refer to HIV and AIDS and to the antimicrobial resistance that we are fighting, and the other health-related diseases that come as a result of the climate crisis. For our populations, these challenges remain real and continue to present a silent, but real and present danger.”
During her address, the Prime Minister, who is also Chair of CARICOM, outlined how Barbados and the region had handled the pandemic. She pointed out that CARICOM Heads of Government adopted a ‘whole of government’ and ‘whole of society’ approach.
She explained that Barbados repurposed an abandoned naval base into a facility for COVID patients, thus expanding its access to critical care beds by over 300 per cent.
“Fortunately, our investment in and the preparedness of our public health officials over the decades has permitted us to do the type of public health surveillance to detect cases, trace and quarantine contacts, isolate and treat the ill,” Ms. Mottley said.
She stated that CARICOM reached out to the Republic of Cuba and received hundreds of doctors and nurses to help in fighting the virus. She thanked the Government of Cuba, for its unswerving assistance during this pandemic. “It has been palpable and clear to all of our populations ….
“So, our CARICOM family banded together to lock down and ride out this first wave, and it has been a long and treacherous wave. The closing of our borders and the trebling of unemployment and the reduction in our Government revenues by half have created grave challenges for many of us. Similarly, the psyche of people in our hemisphere has been disturbed,” Ms. Mottley added.
You may also download Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley’s address to the 73rd Annual World Health Assembly by clicking here.