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By Kerri Gooding
There are benefits to the establishment of a Health Economics Chair at the University of the West Indies and thanks to Sagicor Life Inc., Barbados is well on its way to seeing these positive changes in the health care sector. One crucial advantage of health economists would be to address the challenge posed to the economy by non-communicable diseases.
Director of the Chronic Disease Research Centre Tropical Metabolism Research Institute at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus Professor Anselm Hennis quoted Professor Karl Theodore saying, “There is no question that chronic non-communicable diseases (CNCDs) pose the single, greatest sustained threat to the stability of health systems worldwide. CNCDs are posing a serious challenge to economies.”
Continuing Hennis said, “Health system costs are increasing faster than national income in almost all nations and the main cause is the growing incidence of CNCDs and the diverse spill-over effects.”
Meanwhile, Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, said, “The engagement of health economists in the public healthcare system is going to be very critical as we seek to build a sustainable health system. In the past, too much of our work in health care has been based on the thoughts and deeds of a select few powerful persons in this society, [and] other times without regard to empirical evidence and cost-benefit analysis. This is gradually a system that is being relegated to the archives.”
This supported Professor Hennis’ view when he said, “The growing need for health care services in this country can no longer be met by traditional means. Barbadians are living longer and experiencing increasing rates of lifestyle diseases.”
In closing, Hennis said that the creation of a chair will contribute to reducing the burden of ill health and address major gaps in “our understanding of the economic costs of healthcare, and the cost effectiveness of our health management and policy approaches”.