A new strategic plan for health aimed at offering a practical approach to strengthening Dominica’s health sector has been launched.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has said that the National Strategic Plan for Health has come at a time when emerging epidemics, diseases, threats of natural disasters and climate change are at hand.

He welcomed the initiative, stating that it is part of the government’s mandate to care for every citizen of the country.

“I am well aware that there are some formidable challenges facing the health sector in Dominica. The sector is constantly challenged in satisfying the health needs of the population. With epidemics from emerging and re-emerging diseases are constantly threaten to erode the gains we have made over the years. The ever present threats from natural disasters and now climate change sometimes make the task look daunting,” he stated.

“I welcome the launch of this new strategic plan for health which offers a practical approach to strengthening the health system. And will ensure greater mechanism for improved user satisfaction of the services provided.

He added, “The strategic plan for health 2010-2019 establishes a platform for government action on health. The five strategic directions outlined on the overarching framework for the health sector. The health sector will guarantee the benefits to all the citizens and will pay special attention in tackling the inequalities beheld.”

He guaranteed government’s efforts in continuing to reduce social and economic inequalities which can negatively impact the health of citizens. “This will not be without challenges I dare add. We will therefore expand the range of services available to the public while remaining realistic and cognizant of the limitations of the public first,” he stated.

The prime minister also stated, “the plan is consistent with our policies on institutional reform and organization as well as providing a robust social infrastructure aimed and caring for the poor and  those who are less fortunate among us.”

Meanwhile, Minister for Health Julius Timothy said that a monitoring and evaluation plan is being developed to assist in the implementation of the plan.

“Adequate resources for health are critical to the success of the plan. Attention will be given to financing of the health sector, human resources, health information or decision making, physical facilities and technology,” he said.

“Dominica, like many of the small developing states is subject to the many global phenomenal of limited resources, inadequate investment in the health sector migration of skilled workers and lack of lack of institutional capacity to develop and monitor health policies relating to quality,” he added.

Timothy praised the Labour Party administration for being what he said was the first government to train so many health sector professionals in the history of Dominica.

“Health financing has been gained much attention in the past few years because of the need to identify ways  to achieve financial sustainability and ensure equitable health access to all. The government has trained more health professionals both at basic and post basic level than any other government In the history of Dominica. We plan to continue that process,” he stated.

The five focus areas identified in the plan are the health status of the population, social determinants on the health of the population, management of health services ,organizations and management of the health system and sustainability of the health services system.

The plan was launched at the Fort Young Hotel this morning.