NASSAU DECLARATION ON HEALTH 2001 : THE HEALTH OF THE REGION IS THE WEALTH OF THE REGION
Posted in: Statements from CARICOM Meetings by admin | 07 July 2001 | Release Ref #: NA | 302
We the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community:
COGNIZANT of the critical role of health in the economic development of our people and overawed by the prospect that our current health problems, especially HIV/AIDS, may impede such development through the devastation of our human capital;
RECOGNIZING that the escalation of these health problems is evidence of the deficiencies of our approaches, thus requiring the re-orientating and restructuring of the Health Services;
RECOGNIZING ALSO the need to place emphasis on the access to services for vulnerable groups in our societies, particularly for behavioral change in the youth; and, the empowerment of women;
RECOGNIZING FURTHER that while the resources and absorptive capacity of no one single institution, country or nation are sufficient to reverse the negative trend, the evidence of 'best practices' and technological breakthroughs, the international, regional and national mechanisms and frameworks which exist; and, our experiences in successfully combating serious public health problems, such as poliomyelitis and measles and cholera provide hope of what can be achieved through a collective regional response;
CONVINCED of the need to strengthen the regional and national structures and institutions through which our approach must be articulated, elaborated and discharged;
COMMITTED to providing the requisite resources within our capabilities;
CONSONANT with the goals of the Caribbean Community to promote the improvement, well-being and security of our peoples, recognize that the health of the Region is the wealth of the Region:
We commit ourselves to the pursuit of initiatives and targets to be implemented to achieve an improved health status of our populations within the next five years, emphasizing leadership, strategic planning, management, implementation and resource mobilisation in the context of health sector reform processes that are underway.
We will build on current regional and sub-regional initiatives where necessary, but will seek to establish a series of networks, each with specific roles and responsibilities, in a coordinated regional structure responsive to the needs of the ordinary Caribbean citizen and designed to ensure equity in access to quality preventive and care regimes. We therefore envisage the following:
- regular Consultations of the designated networks under the aegis of the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD), to facilitate the regional coordinated efforts required to address cross-cutting issues at the heart of economic growth and equity such as poverty reduction, improving human resource capabilities, and equity in access and delivery of services; and with respect to intersectoral linkages with issues related to youth, gender, sports, illicit drugs and arms, and education and culture;
- the creation of a Caribbean Technical Regional Task Force on Health and Development within COHSOD to advocate, review and help to propel health to the centre of the development process and to draw on the body of research and development (R&D) that provides for evidenced based decision making at all levels.
We re-commit ourselves to the implementation of the Caribbean Co-operation in Health (CCH) Phase IIas the framework under which all regional and sub-regional, national and institutional sector plans for health will be considered. Emphasis on the sharing of services and an integrated approach to managing health information and health planning and programming is an urgent need. Further we mandate that:
- the Regional Strategic Plan on HIV/AIDS be revised and expanded to ensure that the Pan-Caribbean Partnership benefit fully from the availability of regional and global funds by 1 December 2001, especially in the context of the general targets established by the United Nations Special Session on HIV/AIDS;
- the Regional Strategic Plan on HIV/AIDS include the OECS Pharmaceutical Purchasing Scheme (PPS) as the representative body of the OECS for procuring anti-retro virals.
- a Regional Strategic Plan for the Prevention and Control of the Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases be developed and submitted for approval by March 2002;
- a Regional Strategic Plan on Mental Health be developed by September 2002
- an evaluation of the current CCH II be conducted and a Draft of its successor be submitted by December 2002
Management, Implementation and Resource Mobilization
We shall ensure that the CCH II Secretariat, which is to be jointly administered, by CARICOM and PAHO be made operational by:
placing reliance on the regional and sub-regional institutions to take the lead role on several issues and provide the services required by Member States and to that end these institutions will be reviewed to determine their adequacy, competitiveness and strategic advantages for the Region.
ensuring that the Pan-Caribbean Partnership on HIV/AIDS established in March 2001 provide a model with its primary mandate to mobilize resources for the implementation of the Regional Strategic Plan on HIV/AIDS. Thus far, this has been successful in building Donor confidence and generating financial support. We recommend the strengthening and expansion of the Pan-Caribbean Partnership to include other health priorities and promote donor support.
Pan-Caribbean' Governance Issues
We recognize that the expansion of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) beyond its current membership is both desirable and inevitable, and further commit to:
enhanced areas related to the collective effort by all Caribbean countries for joint representation to exert a greater influence on decision making in the international arena which will favour the Region's interests;
We recognize the primary importance of the Human Resource Development Strategy in both the short and longer term and therefore commit to fully supporting the approaches to:
promotion and prevention, as a responsibility, in relation to security of our assets;
treatment of those persons as an investment in the preservation of our human capital, a cost benefit strategy for sustaining productivity and services, and a human rights obligation.
Institutional Strengthening and Sustainability
We the Heads of Government of the Community agree that the institutional strengthening of the CCH II Secretariat should be given highest priority, and recognize that the sustainability of our efforts will require attention to the involvement of civil society and the other specialized stakeholders. Accordingly, we are determined to lead the charge of the Caribbean in 'Fighting back' against HIV/AIDS and other health conditions, within the context of the articulated principles and processes to preserve and enhance 'The health of the Region which is the wealth of the Region'.