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Prime Minister Dr. Drew Endorses Agenda on Improving Healthcare at ECCB’s 7th Growth and Resilience Dialogue

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 Over the next two days, representatives from the public and private sectors, including parliamentarians, business leaders, students, technocrats, entrepreneurs and other service providers in the OECS [Organization of Eastern Caribbean States] will be engaged in informative discussions on the advancement of the delivery of health care services in the sub-region.

This is being done at the 7th Growth and Resilience Dialogue, hosted by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), in collaboration with the OECS Commission, the World Bank and The University of the West Indies.

The two-day forum is being guided by the theme, “An appropriate and sustainable model for health care in the ECCU/OECS – Agile Infrastructure, Traditional Medicine and Medicinal Cannabis”.

Today, participants are engaged in a series of panel discussions on healthcare from different aspects. A discussion on agile healthcare infrastructure will explore technology in healthcare and recommendations to address pandemics, respiratory ailments and the impact of antimicrobial resistance. The focus on traditional medicine in health care will examine alternative practices to wellness, identify advantages and disadvantages and explore what is needed to integrate traditional medicine into our national healthcare systems. The final discussion will focus on medicinal cannabis from the perspectives of the agriculture and tourism industries.

Delivering the featured address at the opening of the conference, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew said he welcomes any research that supports the application of traditional medicine in a 21st-century health system.

“I support the call for more research in this area to inform how traditional medicine can effectively interface with modern medicine. During the pandemic, we witnessed firsthand the benefits of the collaboration of both forms of medicinal practices—modern and traditional—to combat the symptoms of COVID-19. For example, the blend of turmeric, ginger, and lemon juice for its anti-inflammatory effect and to help boost the immune system,” Prime Minister Dr. Drew said.

“Research has underscored the therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids. Cannabinoids is the fancy for cannabis, marijuana, or ganga as we call it in the sub-region, and we, therefore, welcome the third plenary session. We anticipate regional data on the uses of cannabis along with hearing about the best practices in establishing the medicinal cannabis industry,” Dr. Drew added.

Moreover, St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister stressed that greater investment in primary healthcare is critically needed in the sub-region to save lives and safeguard livelihoods.

“As we strengthen our health systems in preparation for future public health threats, we must embrace innovative technologies to ensure efficiency and efficacy in healthcare delivery. Digitization of the operations of the Ministry of Health is a priority of this government. Digital technology could help make unsustainable healthcare systems more efficient, improve the interaction between patients and medical staff and offer more affordable, quicker and more effective treatments for diseases,” said Prime Minister Dr. Drew.

The second day of the 7th Growth and Resilience Dialogue on Wednesday, April 26thwill feature a virtual exhibition highlighting new and emerging technologies that are transforming health care.

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