Health an investment in development — PAHO director
Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr Nigel Clarke (left) welcomed discussions on public health financing during a courtesy call from Director of the Pan American Health Organization, Dr Carissa Etienne (centre) and Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton at his office on Wednesday.

DIRECTOR of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Dr Carissa Etienne is endorsing a robust focus on health as an investment which is a priority for the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

"Health is an investment in development. Healthy economies and finance are inextricably linked because health is part of sustainable development," highlighted Dr Etienne during a courtesy call to Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr Nigel Clarke on Wednesday.

The symbiotic relationship between health and development is one which Dr Etienne says must be recognised by heads of states.

"Health is so central to sustainable development and the economy. We can't continue to talk about sustainable development without giving sufficient attention to health and well-being," she noted.

"Health care should not be a burden, but a responsibility of Government and individuals," Dr Etienne added.

At the same time, Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton recapped the health financing plans announced in his sectoral presentation in May.

Dr Tufton noted, for example, that a review of public health organisation in Jamaica is to take place, with attention on the restructure of regional health authorities.

This restructure, he says, is necessary in order to attain a more viable financing apparatus for the public health system.

For his part, Finance Minister Dr Clarke thanked Dr Etienne for her contribution on the public health front and welcomed her thoughts concerning health-care financing.

"Financing of health care is an important objective," Dr Clarke noted, highlighting that human capital development is high on the agenda of the finance team.

In May the health and wellness minister announced that economist and head of the Caribbean Policy Research Institute, Dr Damien King is to head the country's talks on economic modelling for health care.

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