Providing Saint Lucians with affordable, reliable, quality health care must be one of the top priorities. What obtains presently is not acceptable.
Open and Operate our Hospitals No effort must be spared to cause the immediate opening of the OK-EU National Hospital and the opening of St. Jude's Hospital within the shortest possible time. Both these facilities should be operated in an efficient and cost-effective manner so as to provide Saint Lucians with the high levels of quality health care to which they are entitled. Strengthen Primary Health Care Emphasis must be placed on strengthening the system of primary health care. Community health services must be improved, including ensuring the integrity of community health centres, their proper provisioning with supplies, and adequate staffing with physicians and nurses. Universal Health Care A financing mechanism must be established to fund and operationalize universal health care. It is vitally important that all Saint Lucians, regardless of economic circumstance, age or place of residence, must have access to a suite of basic health services. There are too many people in our country who cannot afford basic health services and are forced to go without the medical attention they require. This must be one of the urgent priorities of any government. Improved Mental Wellness The provision of mental health services should be improved, with greater support for decentralized services at the community level. Systems for early detection of mental illness must be put in place at the community, school and work levels. Support should be provided for programs that reduce stress in the workplace, such as the Employee Assistance Program of the Ministry of the Public Service, which seeks to assist employees deal with work-related stresses and other issues that may be negatively impacting the mental well-being of these workers. Healthy Lifestyles Programs that promote healthy lifestyles should be encouraged. The high levels of non-communicable diseases pose a serious threat to the health and productivity of citizens. Every effort must be made to cause significant improvements in the health profile of our citizens and dramatic reductions in obesity and the incidence of non-communicable diseases. Assault and vehicular accidents are major causes of injury and death among young people below the age of 35 years. Targeted programs must be undertaken to reverse these trends, including increasing the levels of road traffic patrols by the police, stronger community policing and programs in primary and secondary school that seek to minimize risk-taking behavior among teens and improve their ability to resolve conflicts amicably. Over consumption of sugar and salt are major causes of mortality and morbidity in our population. Government should improve public education on the dangers of excessive consumption of sugar and salt, and increase taxes on sugary drinks to discourage their over-consumption. The proceeds from this sugar tax should go towards the funding of health care.