The Ministry of Health, Agriculture, Sports and Human Services (MoHASHS) recently concluded a successful visit of officials from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) from Monday 11th – Wednesday 13th February 2019. The visiting officials included Dr. Esther De Gourville (PAHO/WHO World Representative (PWR) for the Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Islands) and Dr. Keva Thompson (Ministry of Health (Bahamas) National Professional Officer). This visit accomplished the following objectives:-
- To discuss the achievements and performance concerns with implementing the Biennial Work Plan (BWP) for 2018/2019.
- To present the Adjusted Hanlon methodology for prioritization of programme areas to be implemented in the PAHO Biennium Workplan for 2019-2020.
- To further the planning for the STEPS survey in 2019.
The BWP is the PAHO budgetary planning tool that is used to assess the regional priorities for the Americas, what the PAHO response is going to be for each priority (e.g. technical assistance, training, financial assistance, provisions of goods etc.) and the associated budgets for each country served.
The Adjusted Hanlon methodology is a recognized, robust, scientific and innovative approach of the method for public health priority setting. This used national feedback to assess what the individual and then regional countries’ priorities areas were according to 25 PAHO health outcomes.
STEPS: The WHO STEP wise approach to Surveillance (STEPS) is a simple, standardized method for collecting, analysing and disseminating data in WHO (World Health Organization) member countries. Non communicable diseases or chronic diseases, are not passed from person to person. Non communicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading cause of deaths globally. Non-communicable disease examples include heart attacks, strokes, cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure (hypertension). The STEPS survey is a sequential process. It starts with gathering key information on risk factors with a questionnaire, then moves to simple physical measurements and then to more complex collection of urine and blood samples for biochemical analysis. By gathering this information through the STEPS survey, the data generated will enable the Ministry of Health to better plan remedial interventions to reduce non-communicable diseases and their risk factors in the TCI.
The PWR commended the MoHASHS for the good quality work produced in the 2018-2019 financial year. The MoHASHS looks forward to future collaboration with PAHO/WHO and the deepening of our relationship as we continue to use their technical assistance to build the human resources for health and systems capacity of the Turks and Caicos Islands.