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St. Lucia Hosts 13th ECDS Technical Advisory Meeting

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Contact: Rose Marie Harris

March 17, 1999 - The 13th Annual Meeting of the Eastern Caribbean Drug Service Tenders and Technical Advisory Committee will take place on March 18- 20 here in Saint Lucia.

During the two day meeting medical purchasing officers from each of the nine participating member states, of the OECS will dialogue on the adjudication of tenders for pharmaceuticals and medical supplies and review the formulary drugs to be used in the public health sector of the OECS countries for 1999/2000. The meeting will also look at the implications and cost effectiveness of using a particular drug for the treatment of AIDS to pregnant women who are HIV positive. According to Managing Director of the Eastern Caribbean Drug Service, Francis Burnett it has been found that the use of AZT in pregnant women can reduce the transmission to the new born baby by as much as fifty one percent.

On the second day there will be a symposium on epilepsy that will feature will discuss the results of the Drug Utilisation Review on Epilepsy that was conducted by the Eastern Caribbean Drug Service in Saint Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Epilepsy, Burnett says has not received the same degree of attention as other chronic diseases such as hypertension or diabetes and therefore OECS states feel that it is necessary to really focus on epilepsy "because patients with the disorder sometimes suffer from victimization, they are sometimes discriminated against in their work place and therefore we’ll be recruiting two consultants from Barbados to assist the OECS member states to develop policy guidelines for health practitioners in Saint Lucia and the other OECS countries as well."

On the second day there will be a symposium on epilepsy that will feature will discuss the results of the Drug Utilisation Review on Epilepsy that was conducted by the Eastern Caribbean Drug Service in Saint Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Epilepsy, Burnett says has not received the same degree of attention as other chronic diseases such as hypertension or diabetes and therefore OECS states feel that it is necessary to really focus on epilepsy "because patients with the disorder sometimes suffer from victimization, they are sometimes discriminated against in their work place and therefore we’ll be recruiting two consultants from Barbados to assist the OECS member states to develop policy guidelines for health practitioners in Saint Lucia and the other OECS countries as well."

Meanwhile discussions are ongoing between the island’s health officials and French Health personnel in an effort to add X-ray supplies to the ECDS Pool Procurement List. So far the Eastern Caribbean Drug Service has focused on pharmaceutical supplies but during the last meeting of the OECS Health ministers, the ECDS was given the mandate to look at the possibilities of adding X-ray supplies to their list. Mr. Burnett stressed that X-ray supplies constitute a significant recurrent expenditure for the government of Saint Lucia and last month health officials held dialogue with French counterparts to explore the possibility of whether there will be any significant cost saving if the OECS were to have joint purchasing arrangements with Martinique.

 

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