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Importance of Partnerships During Health Emergencies Emphasised

By: , June 4, 2023
Importance of Partnerships During Health Emergencies Emphasised
Photo: contributed
Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, addresses the recent Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

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Regional and sub-regional partnerships should seek to take steps to address challenges that were experienced by countries with limited capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic to prevent these from reoccurring, according to Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton. 

These issues, Dr. Tufton notes, relate to equitable access to vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics, while citing stakeholder intervention as imperative in the event of future global health emergencies.  

He was speaking during the recent Commonwealth Health Ministers Conference in Geneva, Switzerland on ‘Efforts to Strengthen Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response’.  

Dr. Tufton underscored the importance of partnerships and strengthening ties within the Commonwealth as being “paramount to our mutual success in navigating present and future crises.”  

The Minister, in speaking on the sub-theme – ‘Investing in Equitable Local Manufacturing of Health Products and Technologies’ – informed the meeting that as a critical first step, Jamaica is highlighting the importance of mapping manufacturing sites, and locations with the potential for future development in this regard. 

This, Dr. Tufton explained, in order to maximise opportunities for support and investment. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic brought home for small island developing states, the stark reality of how this circumstance reinforces dependency on large, developed countries for our response to emergencies, as they are the suppliers of the critical resources needed” Minister Tufton said.  

He pointed out that at the height of the pandemic, Jamaica faced critical shortages of basic provisions for infection prevention and control, laboratory supplies, and service delivery in terms of equipment, oxygen, and vaccines.

Dr. Tufton lamented the rapid procurement and hoarding of supplies by large countries, which dried up the supply chains to small island developing states.  

He pointed out that this eventually led to vaccines with short shelf lives being dumped on developing countries. 

This, the Minister said, underscores the urgent need for interventions facilitating equal access as well as capacity building within countries, to provide their own basic needs.  

“We support every effort to increase capacity within countries and our region, and look forward to furthering this discussion and collaboration within the Commonwealth” he affirmed. Dr. Tufton also used the opportunity to thank the many countries that have partnered with Jamaica and supported the country’s efforts in safeguarding the population through the pandemic. 

Last Updated: June 5, 2023

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