St. Lucia explores health collaboration with PAHO

Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, director, Pan America Health Organization (PAHO) at the World Health Organization (WHO).
PAHO Director, Dr. Carissa F. Etienne.

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) says St. Lucia’s Minister of Health and Wellness, Mary Isaac, is on a two-day visit at PAHO headquarters here to explore health collaboration and outline work on priority public health issues for her country.

“PAHO has been very instrumental in giving us necessary support after hurricane events, and we are working closely on issues, such as immunization, universal health coverage, and prevention of diabetes and other non-communicable diseases,” Isaac told PAHO’s Director Dr. Carissa Etienne at a meeting with key staff on Tuesday.

PAHO said St. Lucia, with 170,000 people, is developing a new strategic plan to expand health coverage to all, and has rolled out electronic health records systems to 32 health centers that include syndromic surveillance and immunization records.

Cancer, heart disease and stroke are the top causes of death in St. Lucia, and rates of diabetes, including foot amputations in advanced cases, are a of great concern to the government, Isaac said.

On health achievements, Isaac underscored that that immunization coverage is 95 percent, adding that St. Lucia has eliminated measles and rubella, and mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

Isaac said will continue to collaborate with PAHO on health financing and universal health coverage, operating and sustaining its two major hospitals, and looking at ways to increase health tourism as a source of financing.

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