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PAHO to Focus on New Initiatives in Mental Health

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Contact: Julita Peter

PAHO to Focus on New Initiatives in Mental Health

Thursday, September 18, 2003 - St. Lucia’s Minister for Health the Honourable Damien Greaves will leave the island on Friday for Washington where he will join other Ministers for Health from the region for a seven –day meeting of the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO). The first of the two-part meeting will take place on the weekend and will involve a Caribbean caucus of health ministers where several issues in the working document will be examined.

Some of the issues include the Nassau Declaration which is ‘The health of the Region is the Wealth of the Region’; the regional response to HIV/AIDS; and the institutional strengthening of the Pan Caribbean partnership on HIV/AIDS. The weekend meeting will also focus on mental health and the Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Medical Education and other health professions.

Health Minister Honourable Damien Greaves has requested to make a presentation on some of the initiatives being undertaken by St. Lucia in relation to mental health. He said that “ We will be looking at what you call the new situation in terms of mental health, concentrating on community mental health and placing less emphasis on the institutionalization of the individual. We also want to look at the whole business of public health leadership.”

St Lucia is one of the three areas in the world, which will serve as a demonstration centre on the new measures undertaken in the area of mental health. Also very high on the agenda is a review of the regional examinations for nurse registration, and the issue of managed migration of nurses.

The second part of the meeting will run from September 22-26 and will look at a number of pertinent issues including the PAHO Regional Sanitary Committee, the annual report of the president of PAHO’s executive committee, and the proposed program budget which must be ratified by all ministers throughout the Caribbean and Latin America.

The resurgence of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and the impact of violence on the health of populations in the Americas are amongst other important issues down for discussion.

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