The Ministry of Health and Human Services along with its wider stakeholders on Monday, October 18, commenced a 3-day consultation and think tank exercise aimed at formulating a 4-year National Strategic Health Plan for the Turks and Caicos Islands.
This plan is expected to ensure that all residents have access to sustainable, comprehensive, high quality and affordable health services and programmes.
TCI Minister of Health and Human Services, the Honourable Jamell Robinson, in his welcome remarks, thanked the assembled team for their support in what he described as a multisector initiative targeted at developing a national health sector strategic plan.
“I look forward to seeing this type of support continue throughout the entire process as we focus on achieving one common goal. If we are to succeed, it will be together, as a network of partners recognizing that each sector of society has a role to play in influencing population health,” he told the gathering.
The health minister affirmed his government’s commitment to the attainment of sustainable development goals and universal health care through collaboration, a resetting of health strategies and programming which will undoubtedly strengthen our health system.
“The next four years will offer us significant challenges, but there has never been a greater opportunity to improve the health and wellbeing of the TCI residents than now.
“There must be that renewed commitment to tackle the wider determinants of health by adopting the Health in All Policies (HiAPs) approach across all sectors. We have the opportunity to make improving the public’s health a top priority by strengthening the collaborative approach between stakeholders to better use resources and information in order to build a more resilient health system,” he emphasized.
For her part, Desiree Lewis, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Human Services, who also addressed the audience, which comprised Ministry of Health personnel, wider government partners, stakeholders, NGO’s and private health care facilities, said that it was her desire to produce a living document that provides a strategic roadmap for HealthCare services in the TCI that incorporates lessons learned particularly from Public Health diseases such as COVID-19.
“As a country, we have to continue to think outside the box and utilize modern technologies in HealthCare,” she said.
TCI’s strategic planning exercise is being supported by key regional partners the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Office.
The PAHO/WHO representative (PWR) Dr. Eldonna Boisson commenting on the exercise, stated: “The National Turks and Caicos Islands Strategic Plan for Health is essential to give direction to all health-related work, that of the health sector, as well as that of other sectors and partners.
“This COVID-19 pandemic has taught us the importance of partnership and a whole of government approach to tackling health and health-related issues. This plan will specify the public health results to be achieved during the period of the plan.
“The plan will also define concrete health outputs and outcomes, keeping in mind national, regional and global commitments, that will directly measure the health sector’s progress in delivering quality healthcare to the people of Turks and Caicos Islands.
“The Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) is pleased to be collaborating with the Ministry and partners on the development of this new national strategic plan.”
In the meantime, Robinson recognised the many past accomplishments made in the health sector, which he attributed to the shaping of the government’s primary objectives as well as the health sector.
“This plan once finalised, must align with the overall strategic direction of the government and respond to the challenges facing our health and community service systems and our residents.
“Our health system is extremely important and must realise the healthy development of the individual, the family and the society throughout our beloved Turks and Caicos Islands,” he said.
Meanwhile, the ministry expressed gratitude to all participants for their commitment and support in this exercise as well as PAHO for their ongoing support and guidance.