The Government of St.Lucia is exploring its options for the introduction of National Health Insurance for St. Lucia.
Consultants from the Eu Socieux+ Programme conducted a two day workshop which comprised of technical officers from the various departments within the public service. The programme is co-funded by the EU, France, Spain and Belgium and is a technical assistance facility.
Felix St.Hill, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, said consultations will be held with all trade union and staff associations representing workers within the health sector as well as a broad spectrum of other stakeholders within the national economy.
St.Hill further explained that establishment of a National Health Regulatory Authority was being looked into. The National Health Regulatory Authority would be responsible for monitoring the implementation and the operation of the National Health Insurance Scheme. He noted that legislation and all aspects of policy regarding health insurance needs to be put in place.
St. Hill added that the project is expected to be completed within this financial year and will provide clarity as to the direction government should pursue. Socieux+ Technical Consultant Expert, Markus Brazan, stressed that consultations with as many stakeholders as possible is imperative in the formulation of a National Health Insurance Scheme.
He added that the two basic rules for a good healthcare reform are it needs to be well designed and well funded.
“If one of those things is missing you might have a good system but badly funded it wouldn’t get you forward. You might have a well funded system but badly designed this wouldn’t help you either,” he said.
The training workshop will focus on four main areas; the processes needed in order to implement a National Health Insurance Scheme, the various components of such as scheme, various issues to be analyzed and decisions taken as well as the vital stakeholders who should be involved in the process.
Due to the importance of healthcare, the government of St. Lucia has stated its desire to implement in the soonest possible time a National Health Insurance to cover all St. Lucia particularly the most vulnerable