Kennedy Roberts calls for consultation on National Health Insurance

Former Deputy Chairman of the National Advisory Health Insurance Committee, Kennedy Roberts has called on the Keith Mitchell Administration to first have national consultation on National Health Insurance before implementing that social programme.

Kennedy Roberts – slams the proposed National Health Insurance

Roberts was among a four-member panel of experts assembled by the main opposition National Democratic Congress to take part in a Town Hall Meeting at the Grenada Trade Centre Annex in Grand Anse, St. George’s last week Thursday.

He told the gathering he believes there cannot be a national health insurance plan put together by people sitting in an office without going out and consult with the people.

Roberts who spoke on the topic, “Health and the Economy” felt if the people of Grenada do not have a say in the health programme, it will be dealt a similar blow to the National Referendum on Constitution Reform.

Grenadians rejected all of the seven Constitution Bills that were presented to them at the referendum that was held last November.

The Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) Administration is hoping to introduce national health insurance by the first half of this year with a proposed budget of $500,000.

Roberts is a former executive member of the NNP and contested the St. George North-east seat for the party in the 2008 general election.

In recent years, he has been playing a rather low-keyed role in local politics.

In his presentation of the 2017 budget, Prime Minister Mitchell who is also the Minister of Finance announced that Minister of Implementation, Emmalin Pierre will spearhead the effort to implement universal health care coverage to the citizens of Grenada.

Roberts who served on the National Advisory Health Insurance Committee between 2013 and 2015 said when the body met in June 2013 he made a presentation which laid down the process to consult with the people, especially those who already have private health insurance, advising them on what they will be receiving in addition to their private health insurance.

The former Deputy Chairman said he rejected an offer to return to the restructured committee in his previous capacity.

“I told them thank you, but no thanks because if you’re not listening to the basic recommendations I am making, it ain’t make sense (for) me coming back. So I tell them do what all you have to do, and I will talk as a citizen of Grenada and address the issues,” he told the gathering.

Roberts claimed that at present a lot of Grenadians do not have access to health care.

“Access does not mean there is a physical building. If the building is there and you do not have the appropriate staff to give you help, then you don’t have access. If you go there (and) there isn’t medication for you, you do not have access”, he said.

“If you don’t have the money to pay for the health services, you do not have access. So access is a combination of having the facility, having the service of a certain quality, and having the ability to pay for it, and a lot of Grenadians cannot pay for health care,” he added.

Roberts referred to the United Nations Millennium Sustainable Goals, which encouraged Member States to implement universal health coverage.

He said although this is being promoted since 2005 by the World Health Organisation (WHO), up to the last budget presentation, no reference has been made to universal health coverage in a manner that shows that it is important.

In his fiery delivery, Roberts stated that for a number of years he has been battling for health sector reform throughout the region.

The Health Planner stressed that if the health system is not managed efficiently, the delivery of health services will not have an impact on the population.

As a former Chairman of the National Insurance Scheme Board of Directors, Roberts believes that health is an investment in the people and contributes significantly to economic growth.

“There is a lot of evidence now showing that investment in a transformed health workforce has the potential to create the conditions for inclusive economic growth and job creation, as well as for greater economic stability and security,” he said.

Roberts acknowledged that resources are limited, and there are financial constraints to implement a health insurance scheme.

However, he said the current resources that are being utilised in the health sector, and generally in the public sector are not utilised very efficiently.

He noted that Grenada has an ageing population, with plenty chronic diseases affecting the people. Former Deputy Chairman of the National Advisory Health Insurance Committee, Kennedy Roberts has called on the Keith Mitchell Administration to first have national consultation on National Health Insurance before implementing that social programme.

Roberts was among a four-member panel of experts assembled by the main opposition National Democratic Congress to take part in a Town Hall Meeting at the Grenada Trade Centre Annex in Grand Anse, St. George’s last week Thursday.

He told the gathering he believes there cannot be a national health insurance plan put together by people sitting in an office without going out and consult with the people.

Roberts who spoke on the topic, “Health and the Economy” felt if the people of Grenada do not have a say in the health programme, it will be dealt a similar blow to the National Referendum on Constitution Reform.

Grenadians rejected all of the seven Constitution Bills that were presented to them at the referendum that was held last November.

The Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) Administration is hoping to introduce national health insurance by the first half of this year with a proposed budget of $500,000.

Roberts is a former executive member of the NNP and contested the St. George North-east seat for the party in the 2008 general election.

In recent years, he has been playing a rather low-keyed role in local politics.

In his presentation of the 2017 budget, Prime Minister Mitchell who is also the Minister of Finance announced that Minister of Implementation, Emmalin Pierre will spearhead the effort to implement universal health care coverage to the citizens of Grenada.

Roberts who served on the National Advisory Health Insurance Committee between 2013 and 2015 said when the body met in June 2013 he made a presentation which laid down the process to consult with the people, especially those who already have private health insurance, advising them on what they will be receiving in addition to their private health insurance.

The former Deputy Chairman said he rejected an offer to return to the restructured committee in his previous capacity.

“I told them thank you, but no thanks because if you’re not listening to the basic recommendations I am making, it ain’t make sense (for) me coming back. So I tell them do what all you have to do, and I will talk as a citizen of Grenada and address the issues,” he told the gathering.

Roberts claimed that at present a lot of Grenadians do not have access to health care.

“Access does not mean there is a physical building. If the building is there and you do not have the appropriate staff to give you help, then you don’t have access. If you go there (and) there isn’t medication for you, you do not have access”, he said.

“If you don’t have the money to pay for the health services, you do not have access. So access is a combination of having the facility, having the service of a certain quality, and having the ability to pay for it, and a lot of Grenadians cannot pay for health care,” he added.

Roberts referred to the United Nations Millennium Sustainable Goals, which encouraged Member States to implement universal health coverage.

He said although this is being promoted since 2005 by the World Health Organisation (WHO), up to the last budget presentation, no reference has been made to universal health coverage in a manner that shows that it is important.

In his fiery delivery, Roberts stated that for a number of years he has been battling for health sector reform throughout the region.

The Health Planner stressed that if the health system is not managed efficiently, the delivery of health services will not have an impact on the population.

As a former Chairman of the National Insurance Scheme Board of Directors, Roberts believes that health is an investment in the people and contributes significantly to economic growth.

“There is a lot of evidence now showing that investment in a transformed health workforce has the potential to create the conditions for inclusive economic growth and job creation, as well as for greater economic stability and security,” he said.

Roberts acknowledged that resources are limited, and there are financial constraints to implement a health insurance scheme.

However, he said the current resources that are being utilised in the health sector, and generally in the public sector are not utilised very efficiently.

He noted that Grenada has an ageing population, with plenty chronic diseases affecting the people.

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