JIS News

Strategies to address global inequity in the delivery of healthcare services are among the major topics of discussion at the 34th Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting, which is under way in London.

Speaking with JIS News on Tuesday (May 17), Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, pointed out that the experience of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, where some countries had early access to the vaccines while others did not, has highlighted the need for urgency in tackling the matter.

He contended that global vaccine inequity might have contributed to the hesitancy in persons taking the jab.

Dr. Tufton, who is chairing the meeting, noted that during Tuesday’s session, delegates looked at the impact of inequality on timely access to and distribution of vaccines, personal protective gear, and critical equipment and machines for effective response to COVID-19.

“[In terms of] COVID-19 pandemic management, there were papers tabled, comments made by Ministers around their own experiences, recommendations in terms of how to strengthen our health response and to be prepared to cope in the future with any other such health threats,” he told JIS News.

Dr. Tufton said that the use of digital technology in building resilient health systems, is also a central part of the conversation, noting that Jamaica has particular interest in this regard.

The Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting is being held from May 17 to 19 at the headquarters of the Commonwealth Secretariat in the United Kingdom (UK), under the theme ‘The Road to COVID-19 Recovery: Lessons Learnt for Building Health System Resilience to Advance Universal Health Coverage and Global Health Security in the Commonwealth’.

It aims to, among other things, facilitate partnerships on a range of health priorities, including the COVID-19 response, addressing non-communicable diseases (NCDs), cervical cancer, malaria, and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), as well as advancing universal health-coverage goals.

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