BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, February 23, 2018 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – The Team Unity-led Government of St. Kitts and Nevis moved one step closer towards establishing universal healthcare coverage for citizens and residents of the twin-island federation with the launch of the National Health Insurance Implementation Commission today, Friday, February 23, 2018, at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort.
Friday’s historic ceremony was attended by members of the Federal Cabinet, including Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, government officials, healthcare professionals, as well as officials from the Health Economic Unit of the University of the West Indies (UWI) St. Augustine Campus in Trinidad, which has been contracted to provide professional consultation to advance action on the design and specification for the implementation of a National Health Insurance System.
Addressing the significance of Friday’s event, Prime Minister Harris said the eventual implementation of national health insurance will help the people of St. Kitts and Nevis, particularly the poor, access medical care on a timely basis.
“My Government’s efforts to open doors to healthcare for the people of St. Kitts and Nevis will close the gap on health disparities, marking a landmark achievement for our nation, and further advancing St. Kitts and Nevis’ leadership in healthcare delivery. Significantly, my administration’s historic and unprecedented move to open doors to universal health insurance coverage will close the life expectancy gap between the poor and the middle and upper classes,” Prime Minister Harris stated.
Dr. Harris further stated that the decision to provide universal health coverage is another demonstration of his Team Unity Government delivering on its promise of putting people first.
He noted that persons should not have to choose between accessing life saving medical procedures and providing basic necessities for their families.
“A single mother must not be placed in the position of having to choose [between] buying groceries or scheduling a mammogram the same day she feels a small lump in her breast. Her children will find no solace in knowing that she chose their comfort over her own future, especially during significant life events such as their graduations, weddings, births and christenings, when she is not there to share in the joy that she had always dreamed of for them,” said Prime Minister Harris.
Dr. Harris continued, “We believe that no one should have to skip taking a potentially life-saving scan or other procedure because of the cost, neither should they have to declare bankruptcy because of an expensive illness; above all, we believe that equal access to healthcare is a basic human right.”
Prime Minister Harris said the Government’s national health insurance will cover all persons regardless of age, employment, income or pre-existing conditions, adding, “My government has taken this progressive step forward because people matter most to our Team Unity Administration.”