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Health Minister cancels business trip as the island grapples with a national crisis

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Contact: Shannon Lebourne


Wednesday,  September 9, 2009  Health Minister Honourable Dr Keith Mondesir has cancelled a business trip to St. Vincent to remain at home to attend to national duties in the wake of the fire at the St.  Judes hospital.    Instead, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Mr Felix St. Hill will represent Saint Lucia at  the 12th meeting of OECS Health Ministers which begins this Friday.


Speaking ahead of the meeting Dr Mondesir noted that the OECS Health Ministers are scheduled to   discuss and explore various initiatives to improve the OECS Pharmaceuticals Procurement Programme resulting in greater savings to OECS consumers.


“The Ministers of Health of the OECS are travelling to St. Vincent for this meeting where we will discuss and investigate various ways we can improve the procurement of medication because when you buy in bulk you get cheaper prices. We are also going to look at procuring dialysis fluid in bulk because we recognise that there is a demand for this throughout the OECS since so many of our people a suffering from Kidney problems” said Dr Mondesir.


He says it is critical that OECS Health Ministers find ways to pass on savings to consumers in need of medication because the global economic  crisis has adversely affected the spending power of consumers who are already challenged with the astronomical cost for medicines.


Dr Mondesir says during the meeting, the OECS Health Ministers will also focus on developing a strategic plan for the procurement of medication and other pharmaceuticals for the period 2010 to 2013.


“It is very important that we procure right and get the right prices because when we get good prices and the medication gets here we can pass on big saving to our citizens, and this is very important because medication is generally very expensive” added Health Minister Honourable  Dr Keith Mondesir


The meeting of the OECS Ministers responsible for Health provides a platform for  discussion on several issues relating to the health sector in the region.


The talks are expected to focus on the H1N1 virus and its effect on OECS countries and the impact of the global recession on the health care sector in the region.

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