Health Minister, Donville Inniss (left, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, NULL, NULL, 0); Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Joy St. John; and Chief Nursing Officer, Mitchell Clarke, at a press briefing held today the Minstry of Health. (Image: L. Burnham)

Health Minister, Donville Inniss, today updated the country on a number of health matters, raised at the CARICOM Council for Human and Social Services (COHSOD) meeting, held in Georgetown, Guyana last week and addressed comments made at the meeting by Guyana’s Health Minister and Current Chairman of COSHOD, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy.

During a press briefing at the Frank Walcott Building, Mr. Inniss also addressed a statement made locally by the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners (BAMP) with regard to the access of non-nationals to diagnostic, clinical and pharmaceutical services at Government medical facilities.

"I am of the opinion that we as Ministers can have our differences of opinion, but I am also satisfied that whilst politicians talk and shout at each other, the ordinary citizens of the Caribbean are living the true CARICOM experience… I don’t expect that there will be any fallout in terms of Barbados and Guyana relationships over these issues. Minister Ramsammy made his comments. I, in response, on the margins of the meeting would have spoken with him and enlightened him [Dr. Ramsammy]. I think there was a misinterpretation of what he would have read in the newspapers … but what is important to me is that the people of the Caribbean are able to love each other as brothers and sisters and that we are treated with a great level of hospitality when we visit each other’s nations," he noted.??

In addition, Minister Inniss pointed out that he had already met with the President of BAMP, Dr. Carlos Chase, to discuss a recently publicised position that although doctors would follow the directive of the Ministry of Health regarding non-nationals, they but would not seek to verify??the status of any patient coming to them for care.??

"We never asked them [the doctors] to do that in the first place. I don’t think it’s their duty.?? We haven’t sought to add any additional responsibility onto doctors.?? I spoke to the President of BAMP only yesterday and sought to bring some clarity to the situation and I made it clear to BAMP that at any time they wish to discuss anything with me as Minister, I have an open door policy," Mr. Inniss stressed.

??He outlined that his task as Health Minister was to find solutions that would redound to the benefit of citizens of this country.??

"There are several instances where some people have been residing here in Barbados for an inordinate length of time [and] have not had their status regularised.?? I am not a cruel and inhumane Minister.?? I hear these complaints every day.?? I have spoken with the Chief Immigration Officer. I have spoken with the Minister with responsibility for immigration as recently as yesterday, and I am satisfied that as a Government we will work together to ensure that all of those who are rightfully entitled to anything in Barbados will get what they are entitled to: We just need to ensure that the processes are followed," the Health Minister stated.

Some of the issues discussed at the COHSOD meeting were:?? the regional response to Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases; an update on the Cholera situation in Haiti; the establishment of a Caribbean Public Health Agency; HIV/AIDS; the Regional Insurance Mechanism; exploration of a Caribbean Examinations Council managed Regional Examination for Nursing Registration; a new approach to drug abuse management; and the need for a regional pharmaceutical policy.


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