Sands requests increase in budget for Americas during WHO meeting
Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands yesterday called on the World Health Organization (WHO) to increase its allocated budget for the Americas, including the Caribbean, for the 2020/2021 budget.
During a presentation at the United Nations (UN) in Geneva, Switzerland, Sands said, “The proposed program budget is indeed a move toward increasing resources at a country level but The Bahamas would be remiss if it did not draw attention to the regional comparisons of budget allocation.
“Of the nine percent increase in the total budget, the region of the Americas will receive comparatively the lowest absolute allocation in percentage increases across all WHO regions. Another more pressing issue is the uncertainty of funding of the budget space.
“We underscore that in The Bahamas, as in the Caribbean and the region of the Americas, health inequalities [are] great, the scourge of NCDs (non-communicable diseases) and violence is unrelenting and our exposure to climate change impacts menacing. For these reasons and more, The Bahamas strongly believes a reconsideration of the allocation to the region of the Americas should be undertaken.”
The WHO has proposed a program budget of $3.7 billion for 2020/2021, of which $215.8 million is allocated to the Americas.
In the 2018/2019 budget, the Americas received $190 million.
In the upcoming budget, $992 million is allocated for Africa; $391.2 million for the Eastern Mediterranean; $277.9 million for Europe; $388.5 million for Southeast Asia; $309 million for the Western Pacific; and $1.1 billion for the UN’s headquarters.
Sands also urged the WHO to assist with the development of a road map and toolkit to guide The Bahamas “in realizing this long overdue outcome” of strengthening the country’s capacity in data and invocation.
“Robust data systems are cross cutting and fundamental essentials for healthcare systems strengthening and for innovating effective solution and responses for health,” he said.
“Madam chair, The Bahamas notes the proposed budget and looks forward to adjustments in the spirit of equanimity.”