PAHO Forges Closer Ties with Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis
The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis and the Caribbean stands to benefit from the placement of Dr. Merle Lewis as the new Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) Representative for the Eastern Caribbean and Barbados as well as the newly created residential post of PAHO Country Programme Specialist.
Dr. Lewis just visited the Federation in order to present her credentials to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Honourable Sam Condor.
“PAHO is very proud and does certainly recognize the work of your Prime Minister The Right Honourable Denzil Douglas within the CARICOM Family,” Dr. Lewis emphasized. “Certainly as a key advocate on issues of health including the chronic non-communicable diseases which clearly is a priority area for us in PAHO, and certainly for the countries all over the Americas and actually globally. But specifically, too, it is something that we in the Caribbean must focus on given the burden, the large burden of the disease on our populations.”
In response, Deputy Prime Minister Condor gave Dr. Lewis a warm welcome.
“I would like to take this opportunity now to congratulate you… on your elevation to this high office,” Minister Condor stated. “And we note that you come eminently qualified and we are extremely proud that one of our Caribbean sisters has taken that elevated position. We have always played a leading role in the United Nations and in world health issues and so I want to wish you well and I know you will do an excellent job and we look forward to working with you.”
Minister Condor and Dr. Lewis also discussed issues relevant to the global environment and the critical role that health plays in all sectors. Specific topics included the sharing of resources regionally, adopted global mandates that require certain amendments in individual countries’ laws as well as the relationship between trade and healthy eating. Dr. Lewis also mentioned an area of study related to ‘health and diplomacy,’ which makes a direct link with international treaties and health systems.
Dr. Lewis also met and presented her credentials to Minister of Health Honourable Marcella Liburd and took the opportunity to introduce the new Country Programme Specialist Dr. Patrice Lawrence-Williams who is based at the Joseph N. France General Hospital.
“PAHO is here to be fully responsive and to support you and as a point of the [PAHO] Director’s commitment, especially to the Caribbean,” Dr. Lewis explained.
“We now have a PAHO presence in each of the territories. We created a new category of post called Country Programme Specialist and the one for St. Kitts-Nevis is Dr. Patrice Lawrence-Williams and I will say publicly that she has been doing an excellent job.”
Minister Liburd assured that the Federation was encouraged by PAHO’s increased presence.
“We are very pleased to see how you are making these strides and we are very happy to have a physical presence with PAHO,” Minister Liburd noted. “It has done a lot for us and as you say, she [Dr. Lawrence-Williams] has been doing an excellent job and it helps us to stay focused and increase the dialogue between ourselves and PAHO. I’ve had opportunity to hear you at least once and as you say, these are times to be ‘real’ about what’s happening in health. That is one of our main challenges that we have in this very difficult global environment.”
Both Ministers Condor and Liburd assured Dr. Lewis of the Federation’s cooperation with her organisation and expressed appreciation for the increased direct dialogue between PAHO and the Government and People of St. Kitts and Nevis.