COHSOD Conference Highly Successful – Spencer


The 18th Meeting of CARICOM’s Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD), which ended yesterday (June 4) in Montego Bay, St. James is being deemed a success by Minister of Health, Hon. Rudyard Spencer.
“We have just ended two days of bruising interventions and the result is a highly successful meeting in terms of effective interactions between the health and education sectors,” Minister Spencer stated at a press briefing held at the Ritz Carlton Hotel and Spa, which was the conference’s venue.
“It is the kind of cross-fertilisation that the Caribbean Community needs to move the integration process forward, and prove once again, that the social sector is a main driver in this process,” he added.
Among the matters dealt with by the Ministers of Health and Education from the region, was the H1N1virus. A report from the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (CAREC) indicated that 362 tests have been carried out so far, of which 32 have been diagnosed as positive in the Bahamas, Bermuda, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica. No death has been recorded.
Minister Spencer stated that the virus has underscored the importance and the need for urgent consultations with the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), on establishing and sustaining a more effective and efficient Caribbean laboratory network.
On the issues of gender and education, Minister Spencer noted that the conference considered the matter of boys’ under-participation and under-achievement in the education system and mandated the convening of a policy forum in 2009 based on a Caribbean Development Bank (CDB)-funded study on gender differentials in education. The study was spearheaded by the Regional Co-ordinating Unit of the Centre for Gender and Development Studies, University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona.
Minister of Education and Human Resource Development in Grenada, Franke Alexis Bernadine, stated that the joint approach to Caribbean issues in health and education was an important step for regional integration.
“Combining our efforts and looking at a common way to approach such social issues as HIV/AIDS, is the way to go, and this came out of the deliberations of this conference. We looked at and reviewed what sort of programmes we have introduced into our schools and how can we better and more effectively get that health message across to education, as the two (sectors) collaborate in the interest of our people,” Ms. Bernadine said.

JIS Social