Kingston, Jamaica, 7 November 2016 (PAHO/WHO)--The director of the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, is in Jamaica this week for a high-level meeting with  ministers of health from 16 Caribbean countries and territories.

The meeting is expected to establish a joint plan of action for innovating and improving a range of information systems and partnerships for health throughout the Caribbean. It also joins more than 60 leading regional health experts, UN agencies and international government representatives  in exploring how new information tools and technologies can improve public access to health coverage and services.

“Our goal is to have better health information systems in the Caribbean, so that there is universal, free and timely access to quality and open data, with the most cost-effective ICT tools,” said Etienne. 

“Information systems may not generate a lot of excitement on the face of things, but they are key to the success of our decisions on health, and to improving the quality of care for everyone,” said the Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, Minister of Health of Jamaica.

The high-level meeting will conclude on Tuesday with consensus expected on a comprehensive ‘roadmap’ for strengthening information systems and enhancing collaboration and coordination among national health ministries and actors across the Caribbean.

“This meeting is a transformation point,” added Etienne. “We can initiate a significant change for the Caribbean region if we work together as one team. PAHO is committed to this initiative and encourages all of the Caribbean countries to agree on a common vision, goal, objectives and expected results.”

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Photo: PAHO/WHO, K. Cook. From left to right, PAHO/WHO Rep. Noreen Jack and PAHO/WHO Director Dr. Carissa F. Etienne. High-level meeting with ministers of health from 16 Caribbean countries and territories, Kingston, Jamaica.