In a first of its kind meeting held Thursday 4th May, at the Nayopi meeting room at Providence, the leadership of the Ministry of Health and members of the National Assembly shared ideas on the nation’s health, in a cordial and non-confrontational atmosphere, away from the limelight.
Senior officials of the Ministry of Health presented a snapshot of the nation’s health focusing on the status of non-communicable diseases, substance abuse, health security, health service utilization and the Ministry’s endeavor to make health a whole of government and a whole of society affair.
“We are all concerned by the health and well-being of our nation,” said the Minister for Health, Peggy Vidot. “This interaction is useful for us to find solutions to common challenges together.”
Speaker of the National Assembly, Roger Mancienne concurred with the importance of having such a meeting and underscored the depth and breadth of new information on the status of the nation’s health presented by the health team. “It has been a worthwhile experience for both sides,” he said. “Members of the National Assembly have made valuable comments which, I am sure, the Ministry of Health will give due consideration to!”
Leader of Government Business, Bernard George commented about how he was re-energized by the call for the nation to address health challenges upstream rather than downstream.
“In health, as in law, prevention is always better than cure!” he said
During the plenary discussion, members of the National Assembly requested more information from the health team on the methadone programme, mental health, the quality of health services, staff welfare, accessibility of services for residents of inner islands, the cost of overseas treatment and dialysis, health promotion, obesity, hygiene in the country, among a host of other matters.
Members expressed support for the work carried out by staff of the Ministry of Health.
The Minister for Health extended invitations to all the members of the National Assembly. 23 members from LDS and the Clerk attended.