Initiative to generate revenue to finance health sector

The Government of Barbados hopes that implementing an initiative will aid in financing the increasing needs of the health sector.

Minister of Health and Wellness, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic made this comment as he delivered the opening address during PAHO/WHO’s Meeting on Sub-regional Dialogue on Health Financing in the Caribbean yesterday morning.

Bostic acknowledged that the Government of Barbados currently financed a range of health services from tax revenues. However, he noted that the absence of funds earmarked specifically for the Ministry of Health and Wellness caused them to review their funding mechanisms and develop initiatives which would support increased coverage in a strengthened health care system.

“One such initiative initiated by the present Barbados Government is the introduction of a Health Services Contribution of 2.5 per cent which is shared between employer and employee and unlike the traditional way of these funds going to the Consolidated Fund, the funds of this contribution will go directly to the National Insurance Scheme to ensure that the funds are fully dispersed to the Ministry of Health and Wellness,” he said.

“An initiative such as this would be especially critical in ensuring the health gains achieved are not lost and that we can therefore move forward with a high degree of confidence as we pursue an agenda of sustainable development.”

He added that he hoped this initiative will raise enough revenue for the Ministry of Health and Wellness to provide individuals with a basic package of essential services and financial protection against catastrophic medical expenses caused by illnesses and injury in an inequitable, efficient and sustainable manner.
The Minister revealed that the rising costs in health care provision has presented a challenge for Governments and it has become difficult to find a sustainable solution of financing healthcare in our region.

However, Bostic assured that Government will continue to give priority to healthcare because they are aware of the fact that globally, the rate of a country’s development is determined by the health and well-being of its citizens.

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