The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis welcomes the opportunity to present its perspective to this Assembly on the theme "Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development."
Our Government feels that this year’s Assembly theme is timely, as global transformation requires the growth and development of our Health Systems, in order to address the challenges brought about by new and re-emerging diseases, and the financial burden associated with combatting these illnesses.
This plan of action for people, planet and prosperity, recognizes that eradicating poverty in all its forms is among the greatest of global challenges. Yet, it is an indispensable requirement for sustainable development.
The seventeen (17) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) demonstrate the scale and ambition of this new universal Agenda. We are well aware that, among other matters, the SDGs seek to:
ÔÉò build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs);
ÔÉò realize the human rights of all;
ÔÉò achieve gender equality; and
ÔÉò empower all women and girls.
Mr President, I wish to assure you, that in spite of our small geographical size and population, our Country has made significant strides towards attaining the MDGs, which can now facilitate our transitioning to the sustainable development Agenda. However, as a small island Nation with limited natural assets, we continue to seek out resources to effectively respond to global dynamics such as epidemics of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), new and re-emerging infectious diseases, and climate change.
Our achievement of 97% coverage in targeted vaccine-preventable diseases, increased life expectancy, and reduced infant and maternal mortality rates are due to hard work, targeted strategic planning, and our commitment to primary health care renewal. These gains however, can easily be reversed due to economic fragility, and exposure to exogenous shocks such as global recessions and natural disasters.
To sustain interventions that made it possible for us to frontally address challenges brought about by an epidemiological profile which shifted from diseases associated with poor sanitation and hygiene - to lifestyle diseases - my Country must continue to forge new partnerships, and solidify existing alliances in health. We must expand health promotion and education. We must also work steadily at implementing more sustainable forms of health care financing.
Among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in St. Kitts & Nevis are Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, Stroke, and Cancers. These conditions predispose afflicted individuals to other long-term ailments that cause significant stresses on our small, vulnerable health system - as a result of the financial burden associated with these diseases. As such, we are grateful for the developmental partnerships that have resulted from our collaborations and strategic alliances on matters of human and environmental health.
These partnerships have contributed greatly to improved health outcomes in our Federation. They have come in the form of technical assistance, capacity building, adoption of best practices, and grant funding.
Some of these partners are:
• Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO)
• Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA)
• Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP)
• The Global Fund
• Caribbean Development Bank (CDB)
On this note, I must document the significant contributions to Health in our Federation, made by our friends and diplomatic allies, namely Cuba and Chinese Taipei.
Cuba has, for many years, provided our Country with Medical Consultants in a variety of disciplines. Quite a number of our young people continue to benefit from Cuban scholarships to train as medical doctors and nurses at a number of Cuban universities.
I must also record Chinese Taipei’s contributions to the advancement of our Health Agenda. Chinese Taipei’s technical and financial assistance have had a positive impact on my Country. Through continued technical cooperation and assistance from this Asian country, our Federation looks forward to advancing implementation of the 2030 Agenda, including the eradication of HIV/AIDS, and further reduction in infant and Maternal mortality rates.
Chinese Taipei has repeatedly demonstrated its expertise and ability to commit resources - especially during times of global public health emergencies. This was clearly evident during recent pandemics such as the outbreak of the EBOLA virus in Africa and the ZIKA virus in South America. The country continues to be a strong health ally to developing countries in areas such as agriculture, E-health, renewable energy, sports and infrastructure. As such, St. Kitts and Nevis supports Chinese Taipei’s quest for broader participation in the World Health Assembly.
Thank you, Mr President, for your kind attention. On behalf of the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis I extend best wishes for a successful outcome of this 69th Assembly, for the good of all nations.