Health Minister, Donville Inniss and NGO Desk Coordinator Felicia Inniss (to his left) at a meeting with a number of representatives from health Non-Governmental Organisations at the Ministry of Health yesterday. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

Representatives from 13 Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) met at the Ministry of Health today to outline a path towards working more closely together.?? It was the group’s first meeting since the NGO desk was inaugurated in June.??

Health Minister, Donville Inniss, who chaired the meeting, reiterated that although the Desk was in the planning stage for some time, he was pleased that they were now at this stage, since it was an essential step towards ???bridging the gap’.

"I asked that the Desk not restrict membership to those organisations which receive a subvention from Government since it is clear that you all play a vital role in the delivery of health care services and can, as many of you already do, assist government in improving access to services.?? The Ministry cannot do it alone," Mr. Inniss remarked.

He held the view that the NGOs were perhaps "closer to the root cause of the health problems and might be best suited to help identify solutions for their particular constituents".?? Mr. Inniss also noted that the creation of a registry and calendar of events would be helpful in better planning and reducing the duplication of efforts and pointed out that a more formal relationship would assist the Ministry to identify benefactors who may want to assist.??

Pointing to a recent donation from offshore banking company, Total Banking Corporation of $50,000 to the Albert Cecil Graham Development Centre and the same amount to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, he took the opportunity to inform the representatives that potential sponsors often contacted the Ministry or him directly to enquire to what agency they could be of assistance.??

The group discussed communication and education, the planning of events, and the need for technical assistance in a number of areas.??

The meeting was attended by representatives from the Asthma Association, the Barbados Association of Palliative Care, the Barbados Association of Occupational Therapists, the Barbados Association of Retired Persons, the Barbados Dental Association, The Barbados Diabetes Association, The Barbados Diabetes

Foundation, Cancer Support Services, the Heart and Stroke Foundation Inc., the Barbados Road Safety Association, the Hope Foundation and the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners.????

The Desk is manned by Coordinator, Felicia Inniss and is guided by a "Policy on Relations with NGOs" which was approved by Cabinet in 2011.?? It is expected that the NGO’s will meet on a quarterly basis.??


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