by Linda Straker
- Universal healthcare provides healthcare and financial protection to all residents
- Focus of 2-day conference will be to listen to community, public education, and information sharing
- Government has entered into a 9-month contract with JIPA as of 29 October
Dr Kester Nedd, CEO of the Miami-based JIPA (Joint Independent Provider Association) Network, has described his contract with government to engage in broad-based consultations with all the relevant stakeholders to implement a national health insurance system, as a transformational initiative as Grenada embarks on providing universal health for citizens.
“Today we are beginning the steps of universal health coverage for all,” Nedd told participants attending a 2-day conference where the vision of the JIPA Network is being presented to stakeholders.
While JIPA is formally introducing its brand and ideas to the Grenadian community, the focus of the event at the Radisson Convention Centre will be to listen to the community, public education, and information sharing. “Change can only be successful when we listen to others,” he told participants from the medical fraternity, Trades Union Council, private sector, insurance industry, political organisations, civil society organisations, churches, and government officials.
Explaining that National Health Insurance is not a band-aid to fixing the current challenges, Nedd said that the initiative is part of a wide concept that will eventually result in the transformation of Grenada’s healthcare system.
“Most important, there is a need for political will. We need that kind of support as part of the governance structure,” he said while pointing out that political will is significant to achieve universal healthcare.
Universal health coverage (UHC) is a healthcare system that provides healthcare and financial protection to all residents. Grenada is committed to achieving UHC, which means that all people and communities can use the promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services they need, of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that the use of these services does not expose the user to financial hardship.
Dr Francis Martin, Senior Medical Officer with responsibility for primary healthcare said that UHC cannot be achieved if there is no reform. “If healthcare remains the same, government will have to make some hard changes and reallocate funds,” he told participants while presenting on the current state of healthcare in the country.
Besides local experts, the event also features international speakers who are sharing lessons learned from the NHI Bahamas, BVI and Turks and Caicos.
Government has entered into a 9-month contract with JIPA valued between US$800,000 and US$1.5 million to complete the process for implementation of the National Health Insurance programme.
The contract came into effect as of 29 October 2019, and builds on the work already started by the University of the West Indies and other stakeholders.
Grenada received US$653,916 from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to establish the secretariat of the NHI and to undertake initial preparatory work. The decision of government to introduce a National Health Insurance plan is in keeping with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030.
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