From: Bahamas Information Services
The European Union will facilitate a grant in the amount of $5.2 million to be administered by the Inter-American Development Bank for green economy and social projects for the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
The Minister of Health and Wellness the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville marveled at the news received, during a Courtesy Call by IDB Country Representative in The Bahamas Daniela Carrera Marquis on Tuesday, November 2, 2021.
Although details are still being ironed out, he said: “This is good news for us and we are looking forward to the continued work with the IDB.” Also present at the Courtesy Call in the conference of the Ministry of Health and Wellness on Meeting Street were: Colin Higgs, Permanent Secretary; Siobhan Deane, Under Secretary; Charlene Bain, Administrator Community Health Services; Dr. Phillip Swann, Registrar, and Anya Symonette, First Assistant Secretary.
The IDB Country Strategy with The Bahamas (2018-2022) aims to support the country in achieving a sustainable path of higher growth in a fiscally prudent manner.
The Country Strategy priority areas include:
(1) Enhancing public sector effectiveness;
(2) Supporting resilient infrastructure for growth; and
(3) Fostering an enabling environment for private sector competitiveness.
Cross cutting considerations of data, gender, and climate resilience and disaster risk management will also be factored into all strategic partnership efforts. The program to support the Health System Strengthening is a $40M investment loan for the strengthening of The Bahamas’ health system to meet the population’s health needs. The specific objectives are to: integrate primary and secondary care services, improve access, coverage and quality of community, ambulatory, and hospital services through a person and community centered model of care; and to increase the efficiency of health services, among other needs.
There is also the Program to Support the Health Sector to Contain COVID-19, which is a $20M investment loan to help reduce the morbidity and mortality caused by COVID-19 and to mitigate other indirect impacts of the pandemic on health. And, a $300,000 non-reimbursable grant or technical cooperation to support the investment loans, reinforcing the health system of The Bahamas to respond to the health needs of the population. IDB Country Representative Marquis confirmed that the European Union has recently approved a grant in the amount of $5.2 million to be administered by the IDB for green economy and social projects by the Ministry of Health and Wellness. Therefore, the IDB is processing its approval and Board consideration is expected by March 2022. Dr. Darville noted that the $40 million investment loan project to upgrade health care facilities on the Family Islands is progressing well as was evident by his recent tours.
Regarding the COVID-19 support initiative, said Ms. Marquis of the IDB, “We have the people and resources. We think it would be the first in the Caribbean.”
Dr. Darville said it is refreshing for the IDB to assist The Bahamas in conducting a COVID-19 assessment, which would be a comprehensive
analysis of the impact of the pandemic on the country.
“It is very important for us to plan. It would help us to know what to expect and to better plan, to look at resources and where to place them,” he said. The health minister also expressed concerned that the Bahamas’ COVID-19 death toll is the highest in the region, and per capita worldwide. He has requested IDB assistance for the Department of Public Health, charged with these statistics, to process in real time and for the structure to be the engine it is supposed to be.