Minister of Health, Donville Inniss (FP)

The international spread of disease could impact the Caribbean and significantly affect economic gains, and to this end, regional port health workers are in Barbados this week to build capacity to safeguard regional borders.

According to Health Minister, Donville Inniss, these diseases could, over the years, impact the tourism and food service industries, both critical to the sustainability of small island’s economic and social development.??

He was at the time speaking to participants of a three-day regional Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO)/World Health Organisation (WHO) workshop on Training on Inspection of Ship and Ports, at the Grand Barbados Hotel, Aquatic Gap, St. Michael.

"This workshop is timely and important as we look at the global economic events and their impact on world economies.?? This is a step in the right direction to prevent further economic decline as a result of the spread of diseases through trade, and shipping in particular," Mr. Inniss pointed out.

Several regional states have established core capacities for the issuance of the Ship Sanitation Certificates (SSC) and it is expected that by the conclusion of the workshop, other regional countries would have developed the necessary capacity to inspect, identify, prevent and control risks on board ships on international voyages and also to issue SSC.

"Critical to the enforcement of these regulations are the inspections and issuance of Deratting Certificate/Deratting Exemption Certification as required documents for International Public Health control of ships visiting ports…Port health officers are often not as appreciated as they ought to be.???? Many of us who fly into the islands or those who come on ships often do not recognise the outstanding work of our officers in protecting and safeguarding our borders, our citizens and our economies," Minister Inniss said.?? ????

The objective of the regional workshop is to ensure that the necessary and appropriate skills and capabilities of port health officers are enhanced, thus facilitating the issuance of?? SSCs/ Ship Sanitation Exemption Certificates as required under the International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005, an internationally legally binding instrument.??

The specific objectives of the workshop are to:?? Review the role of health authorities at the points of entry in accordance with the IHR; improve the knowledge and skills of inspection on board ships; the issuance of SSCs and to promote the exchange of experience and foster collaboration.??????

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