Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley. (FP)

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has told a high-level meeting that it is essential that national, regional and international strategies be created to support the most vulnerable, so no one is left behind.

Ms. Mottley expressed the view that a whole of society approach was required, and should be enhanced by the contributions of civil society, non-governmental organisations, the private sector, and religious and cultural groups.

She made the comments recently, as she participated in a virtual leadership dialogue session of the third Lives in the Balance Summit: Equity in COVID-19 Recovery.

The Prime Minister told her audience that the COVID-19 pandemic had disproportionately affected low income countries, small island developing states and middle income countries.  

She noted that they were confronted by inequities with respect to access to medical technologies, laboratory services, essential medicines and vaccines.

At the country level, she added, there were further disparities, with the elderly, women, children and adolescents not necessarily receiving the same social protection and economic support to weather the ravages of the pandemic.

Ms. Mottley continued: “Of particular concern to Barbados is access to vaccines and other therapeutic agents, which are skewed away from the economically disenfranchised…. For those of us who are middle income countries, we have been denied access by the use of crude proxies, such as whether we have certain levels of maternal mortality; nothing at all to do with the reality of the risk to COVID-19.

“We, therefore, face a double burden wherein there is less access to countries such as ours, who in turn have specific vulnerable populations with specific needs. Countries need to set aside a number of resources for their vulnerable groups and key populations. And we want to do so, but we have to have not just access to concessional funding, but we equally have to have access to the fiscal space, even when the funding is available.”

The Prime Minister stressed that countries needed the resources as they sought to develop tailored social interventions to reach people in their communities.

She again expressed the view that the only path to mitigating the pandemic is through global leadership and global political commitment.  

“We are not yet out of the woods, and for those who believe that that horse has already bolted the stables, I say it is not so, for each week we continue to hear that this virus is affecting more…people globally. There is never a time that is too late to do the right thing,” she reasoned.

The two-day event was co-hosted by Partnership for Maternal Newborn and Child Health, CORE Group, the Global Financing Facility, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.  

During the summit, participants examined how countries were able to protect the health and well-being of women, children, and adolescents during the pandemic.

sharon.austingill-moore@barbados.gov.bb

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