Antigua and Barbuda is turning to Japan for assistance in its fight to combat Non-
Communicable Diseases NCD’s.
A recent training program sponsored jointly by the Japanese International
Cooperation Agency JICA and the Antigua and Barbuda government has sparked
a new initiative aimed at improving healthcare standards in the region.
The training session was held in Japan towards the end of last year and it brought
together health professionals from various island nations, including Antigua and
Barbuda. Dr. Anju Smith, a community health specialist, represented Antigua and
Barbuda in the programme.
The initiative, facilitated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, focused on developing
countermeasures for the prevention and control of NCDs. Participants were
required to conduct a situation analysis of NCDs in their respective countries as a
prerequisite for the training.
Impressed by the high standard of community health services in Japan, Dr. Smith
is eager to implement aspects of the Japanese healthcare system in Antigua and
Barbuda. Specifically, she plans to introduce worker’s health checkups, inspired by
Japan’s comprehensive healthcare approach.
The proposed two-year worker’s health checkup, health promotion, and activity
programme are scheduled to commence in February 2024 and conclude in
November 2025. Discussions have already begun with JICA and the acting Chief
Medical Officer to ensure the successful implementation of the initiative.
In addition to worker’s health checkups, the training covered various topics
including dental perspectives on NCDs, epidemiological surveys, community
health promotional activities, anti-smoking measures, and metabolic syndrome and
exercise programs for the elderly.
Dr. Smith’s proposal for worker’s health checkups has garnered support from
various stakeholders, including lab technicians at Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre
and representatives from the Medical Benefits Scheme. Plans are underway to
form a committee or working group to further refine the proposal and gather
assistance for its successful rollout and completion.
The collaboration between JICA and Antigua and Barbuda health officials
underscores the commitment of both parties to improving community health and
addressing the challenges posed by NCDs in the region. With the adoption of
innovative approaches inspired by the Japanese healthcare model, Antigua and
Barbuda are poised to make significant strides in healthcare delivery and disease