Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister of Health, and Wellness Sir Molwyn Joseph, has emphasized the need for increased investment in new and innovative programs to manage the rising spread of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).
He made these remarks During a high-level meeting on Universal Health Coverage, held on the sidelines of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York,
Sir Molwyn is a strong advocate for combatting the spread of NCDs, which is a major health concern that has resulted in loss of lives and placed a heavy burden on the country’s healthcare system.
He addressed this issue while highlighting the severe challenges faced by small states such as Antigua and Barbuda during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The pandemic exposed and exacerbated the vulnerabilities of people living with NCDs, making them more susceptible to the virus.
During the meeting, Sir Molwyn stressed the critical nature of financing a modern healthcare system and preventing and reducing the incidents of NCDs among the population.
He emphasized the need to develop new programs to prevent the high incidents of NCDs, especially since individuals with NCDs were more vulnerable to the virus during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The high-level UN meeting, which aimed to review progress and challenges in achieving universal health coverage by 2030, was held under the theme “Universal health coverage: expanding our ambition for health and well-being in a post-COVID world.”
Sir Molwyn urged delegates to take all possible measures in preparing for any possible pandemics in the future, stressing the need for a global system that can meet the requirements of all countries during a pandemic.
He emphasized that this system must be scalable and flexible to manage any future global pandemics effectively.
Sir Molwyn suggested that the region, specifically Latin America and the Caribbean, should seek to build capacity to manufacture vaccines to ensure an adequate and effective response to the health needs of the people.
He expressed hope that Antigua and Barbuda would achieve its goal of eliminating cervical cancer by 2030, given the considerable investments that the government has already made in combatting the spread of NCDs such as diabetes, hypertension, and cancer.
The Minister noted that the support of regional health institutions, such as PAHO and WHO, was paramount in overcoming these challenges.
He hailed the example set by these institutions in joining Antigua and Barbuda in seeking to improve its health services and develop universal health care.