Investment in health is an essential priority

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 The Region’s health care systems and the public health infrastructure are in urgent need of attention and should be better financed and more cost effective.  Strengthening health systems has been identified as a priority health area for the Caribbean from as early as 1984 and has remained so due in part to an upward spiral in health cost and finite resources. Greater investment is urgently needed especially in cost effective health promotion, disease prevention and population health measures.
Health research was identified as one key aspect of the health system capacity that needs to be improved and made more policy-relevant. Research is needed to address critical issues such as the improvement of the efficiency and effectiveness of health systems, investments needs and opportunities, and barriers to uptake of services and evidence.For this reason, “Sustainable Health Systems for Economic Development and Wealth” has been chosen as the theme for Caribbean Public Health Agency’s (CARPHA) 63rd Annual Health Research Conference this year. The aim is to highlight indigenous research that can contribute to health systems strengthening and improve the performance of the six health systems building blocks: governance, financing, service delivery arrangements, health human resources, information and evidence, and medical products and technologies.

“This conference now in its 63rd year, is the Caribbean’s premier gathering of health research professionals.  We take immense pleasure in inviting all the participants from across the Region and internationally to attend three days of keynote presentations, oral and poster presentations and exhibitions,” said Dr C James Hospedales Executive Director, CARPHA.  He was speaking at the media briefing for the conference which took place at the Parliamentary Lounge, Government Headquarters.

Dr Hospedales said because of the focus of the economic aspect, the conference would appeal to agriculture, environmental, and finance sectors.  He further stated that 300 participants will benefit from total of 67 oral presentations; 52 poster presentations and sixteen concurrent sessions.  Two accomplished health researchers Professor Carl Theodore and Professor Brendan Bain, will be awarded at the Conference for their outstanding contributions especially in the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS and in Health Economics.

In her Opening Remarks, Honorable Wendy Phipps, Minister of State with responsibility for Health, said that she is pleased to again collaborate with CARPHA to co-host the Annual Health Research Conference and looks forward to a successful outcome of the events.

“The theme of the conference is a sobering reality on what it takes to transform economies, empower countries and create the kind of legacy and future that we would wish to leave in the hands of the other generations.  We are hoping that some of the topics will zero in on the overarching ambitions and opportunities for economic growth.  We therefore look forward to the continued relationship that our country has already had with CARPHA as the premier public health agency in the Caribbean, which has the respect of its regional and international partners, and to continued partnership for a successful outcome to the conference scheduled to take place in June,” said Minister Phipps.

The Conference will be attended by policymakers, researchers, health and allied health professionals (physicians, nurses, psychologists, environmental health officers) and other public health officials from across the Caribbean Region, Latin America, North America and Europe.  It also performs an important function to train and develop the Region’s young researchers.

Minister of Health, the Hon. Eugene Hamilton, noted that of the topics that will be discussed at the conference, the matter of national health insurance is especially important because it is at the forefront of the government’s agenda. He also mentioned that this will also be a pressing topic at the World Health Assembly Meeting in Geneva which he is slated to attend in May.

He expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to work with CARPHA in bringing this conference to the Federation and highlighted that the benefits of the conference will be far reaching long after the event is over. He also encouraged members of the health services community and the general public to register.

“I want to urge the general public to be engaged in what is taking place in the Federation over the next two years, beginning with CARPHA in June. Get engaged, register and learn more about health and health care delivery. I want to thank CARPHA for choosing St. Kitts and Nevis to partner with us to host the 63rd Conference and I trust that because you are here this year, there will be a heightened engagement of the public in issues concerning health,” said Minister Hamilton.

The Annual Health Research Conference takes place from 14 – 16 June, 2018 at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort and Royal Beach Casino. A series of events including Town Hall Meetings, Research Skills Workshop, a Regional Communications Symposium, Expert Panel on Climate and Health, Training for Environmental Health Officers, and a Meeting for CARICOM Chief Medical Officers will take place leading up to the conference.

More information about the conference and special rates for residents, students, including sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, can be found at  http://conference.carpha.org/ (CARPHA Press Release and image)

 

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