Health Minister, John Boyce, addressing the 16th Annual Professor Errol R. Walrond Scientific Symposium at the QEH. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

Evidence-based health research should be a vital part of the effort to achieve improved health care for all Barbadians.

Health Minister John Boyce made this clear as he addressed the 16th Annual Professor Errol R. Walrond Scientific Symposium at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s (QEH) Auditorium last Friday.

He applauded the University of the West Indies’ Faculty of Medical Sciences and the QEH for collaborating to host the forum, adding: “The Ministry of Health values your input and encourages you to continue to engage us in important initiatives which can assist us as policymakers, in making decisions which will contribute to the better health of Barbadians.”

The Health Minister said that as Government continued to grapple with the challenges posed by non-communicable diseases (NCDs), evidence-based research specific to the local setting would assist in channeling resources where they could be most effective.

“In addition to a focus on NCDs, the Ministry of Health has recently been responding to infectious disease challenges such as Ebola, Dengue, Zika and H1N1. Part of this response included structuring appropriate surveillance systems for these external threats,” Mr. Boyce noted.

He said the Ministry would continue to support training in public health, especially those that placed emphasis on epidemiology, biostatistics and research.

Additionally, the Ministry will continue to partner with the Caribbean Public Health Agency and the Pan American Health Organisation in support of its research agenda, particularly in respect of the five-yearly behavioural risk factor surveys and the field epidemiology course offered to public health managers.

“The Government of Barbados will continue to utilise research to inform health policy and programme planning in health systems, environmental health, nutrition, dental health, family health and mental health.

“I hope this symposium will raise the awareness of the importance of research, strengthen your skills and not only serve as an inspiration to all researchers who will be presenting their papers, but also encourage others in the area of research,” the Health Minister stated.

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