OECS leaders to meet with WHO Director-General

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Dr. Didacus Jules

CASTRIES, St. Lucia – The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is scheduled to meet leaders from the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) on Friday.

The meeting comes as the OECS Authority will hold its sixth meeting chaired by Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit.

According to the Director-General of the OECS, Dr. Didacus Jules, the WHO’s meeting should be a productive one that will also help bridge the COVID-19 vaccine gap for the 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 allow the OECS Authority 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 WHO’s support through the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator.

“Many Caribbean States have led the way in protecting their populations from COVID-19 with careful implementation of public health measures. I am honored 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,” said Tedros, ahead of the meeting.

“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 Organization (PAHO) Director Dr. Carissa Etienne and the Executive Director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), Dr. Joy St John, are expected to join the discussions.

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