Barbados to offer free health care for resident CARICOM nationals

(CNS) – The Ministry of Health and Wellness in Barbados is preparing a document to take to Cabinet which will provide for free health care for all CARICOM nationals residing in Barbados, whether or not they are skilled nationals.

News of this came from Health and Wellness Minister, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bostic, as he delivered the feature address at the opening ceremony of a World Health Day activity, organized by the Pan American Health Organization in collaboration with the Ministry.

Lt. Col. Bostic told the gathering that the theme for World Health Day 2019, Universal Health: Everyone, Everywhere, was consistent with the policy goals of the Barbados Government which placed high priority on providing universal access to high quality health care.

He said the Ministry was working assiduously to put both the necessary infrastructure and processes in place to meet the June 1 deadline for the implementation of the 24-hour system at the Winston Scott Polyclinic and the David Thompson Health and Social Services Complex.

The new service, which is geared to relieve some of the stress currently being experienced at the Accident and Emergency Department of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, will cater to patients who require primary and urgent care.

The Health and Wellness Minister also spoke about the epidemic of non-communicable diseases in Barbados, noting that the rate continued to be unacceptably high.

He said this was why there was a renewed emphasis within the Ministry on the importance of wellness, adding “…we are making wellness the cornerstone of our health policy and will be taking wellness into every corner of this country because we recognize that if we are to effectively deal with the scourge of NCDs, we cannot sit back and wait for people to come to us but we must take the message into the community”.

He called on all sectors of society – public, private and non-governmental – to collaborate in responding to the epidemic, emphasizing that while Government was committed to implementing the necessary policies and programmes to guarantee continued access to quality health care, creating that healthy future was the business of every Barbadian.

The highlight of this morning’s activity, held at the Garrison Savannah, was the formation of a human chain link around the 50th Independence Anniversary National Monument.

Participants included members of international organizations, the diplomatic corps, the Cadet Corps, the Barbados Defence Force, Non-Governmental Organisations, the Pan American Health Organisation, the Ministry of Health and Wellness and the public.