Dr. Jules cited the exorbitant costs associated with extra-regional travel for medical care as a reason for the agreement

Access to medical facilities in the French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe is expected to be made easier for citizens of Dominica and the other eight members of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) following the signing of an agreement between the OECS and the General Social Security Fund of Guadeloupe (CGSS).

The three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by OECS Director General, Didacus Jules, and the General Director of the CGSS, Henri Yacou.

The agreement will address the administrative, logistical and financial barriers that OECS Member States face when accessing health services in the French Departments in the Eastern Caribbean. It will also facilitate the exchange of information and capacity building in an effort to support the development of regional approaches to health services and the portability of health benefits backed by adequate health insurance.

Jules cited, as a reason for the agreement, the exorbitant costs associated with extra-regional travel for medical care.

“As a result the Commission has been actively seeking to create linkages with our French neighbours to expand access to specialised healthcare within the region and this agreement with the CGSS in Guadeloupe is a materialisation of these efforts. We look forward to deepening areas of cooperation in the years ahead.”

Yacou said he was pleased to be party to an agreement which seeks to help the vulnerable by affording them easier access to healthcare which might not be available in their homeland.

“I sincerely wish that this project will facilitate the free movement of citizens of the OECS to access health care in the best conditions possible,” he noted.

The CGSS is presently working on a plan for a pilot project with a French health insurance company that will allow for unique identification numbers and a financially and legally secure partnership with hospital establishments of Guadeloupe, Martinique and St Martin.

The OECS groups the islands of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts-Nevis, Anguilla, Montserrat, and the British Virgin Islands.

Martinique became an Associate Member State of the OECS on February 4, 2015.