Leaders of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission will meet with the Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and his team tomorrow.
The meeting comes as OECS Authority will hold its sixth meeting chaired by Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit.
Director General of the OECS, Dr Didacus Jules, is anticipating a productive outcome with the WHO and hopes that this meeting will help bridge the vaccine gap for OECS Member States.
“The Special Meeting of the OECS Heads of Government with WHO is critical for two main reasons: it will allow the OECS to join with Director General Tedros in advocating for more equitable access to vaccines and unlocking supplies for developing states,” Jules said.
“This Special Session will give the OECS Authority an opportunity to explore approaches to filling the gap between vaccines accessible through the COVAX Facility and bilateral sources, and highlighting the health needs of our Member States. Finding a timely solution is critical from a public health standpoint but will also provide the building blocks to resuscitate, repair and rebuild the economies across our region.”
The OECS leaders are expected to explore the support of WHO through the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator.
Ahead of the meeting, Tedros said: “Many Caribbean States have led the way in protecting their populations from COVID-19 with careful implementation of public health measures. I am honoured to work side by side with OECS Heads of Government in fighting the pandemic and am committed to ensuring equitable access to vaccines, diagnostics and treatments to support Caribbean communities.”
“Collaborating with partners through the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator and its COVAX Facility, WHO is working to ensure vaccines are distributed as rapidly and equitably as possible, to help bring the pandemic under control in the Caribbean and globally.”
Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) Director, Dr Carissa Etienne, as well as the Executive Director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) Dr Joy St John, are expected to join the discussions.