Minister of Health and Wellness, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bostic. (FP)

Barbados’ Minister of Health and Wellness, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bostic, today appealed for global support and solidarity to help small island developing states fight the COVID-19 pandemic, and other health challenges facing the grouping.

Addressing a virtual meeting of the 73rd World Health Assembly this morning, Minister Bostic maintained that implementing comprehensive health strategies aimed at suppressing transmissions and preventing them from spreading required sustainable resources.

He posited: “Despite our country’s designation as a high-income country, we, and other similarly vulnerable small island developing states, urgently need global support and solidarity to ensure the continuity of essential health and social services to safeguard the health and well-being of our people.”

The Health and Wellness Minister assured the Assembly that Barbados was determined not to be paralysed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said the country would continue to work on understanding the social, economic and political impacts of the current crisis and to craft strategies to mitigate them, while remaining cognizant and seeking to adequately address the ongoing health needs of its people.

These, he outlined, ranged from non-communicable diseases to maternal child health issues to disaster preparedness, to name a few.

Minister Bostic shared with the Assembly the measures Barbados had put in place in response to the pandemic, including the immediate activation of the Health Emergency Operations Centre “within a few short weeks of the first cases being reported in China”, to guide the implementation of a suite of strategies.

He highlighted two key responses as the procurement of urgently needed medical equipment and supplies in an environment of global scarcity and the strengthening of the infrastructure of the healthcare system, including building laboratory capacity for the diagnosis of COVID-19.

The Health and Wellness Minister conveyed the appreciation of the Government and people of Barbados for the efforts of the World Health Organization, the Pan American Health Organization and the Caribbean Public Health Agency in providing “unwavering assistance and stewardship to Barbados and our partner countries in the Caribbean as we aim to improve the health and quality of life of all of our people”.

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