Councillor and Chief Officer at PAHO Health Meeting
Councillor for Health Roy McTaggart and Ministry of Health Chief Officer Jennifer Ahearn recently attended a meeting of health representatives from Caribbean British Overseas Territories.
The meeting was organised by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and held at its headquarters in Washington, D.C. on 28 and 29 July. In addition to representatives from each of the six territories, representatives from Public Health England were also in attendance.
Delegates discussed and agreed the first-ever PAHO and World Health Organization (WHO) multi-country cooperation strategy for the United Kingdom Overseas Territories (UKOTs), and also explored ways to enhance technical cooperation in health matters between PAHO, Public Health England, and the UKOTs.
“It was interesting to discuss shared issues and concerns regarding health matters with the other UK territories in the Caribbean,” said Councillor McTaggart. “I enjoyed meeting colleagues from across the region, as well as technical staff from PAHO. Our talks were very fruitful.”
Discussions also included the newly rolled-out Cayman Islands public health programme that uses genetically modified mosquitoes to combat Zika, dengue and chikungunya. The technique targets the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits the viruses, by releasing non-biting males to mate with wild females. The offspring die before reaching maturity, reducing the population of the dangerous mosquito.
“The other territories were very interested in what we are doing with the genetically modified mosquitoes and had been following our progress in the media,” said Ms Ahearn.
Councillor McTaggart and Ms Ahearn also gave a report to the meeting about the new long-term residential mental healthcare facility which is being developed in the Cayman Islands. Plans are ongoing to open a facility to allow mental health patients who require long-term care to be treated on-island. At the moment there is no long-term treatment facility for chronically ill mental health patients, and many patients are sent overseas for care.
“This meeting to develop country cooperation strategies is another example of how PAHO continues to help strengthen our healthcare system,” said Ms Ahearn. “We are very grateful for all PAHO’s technical assistance.”