Minister of Health Sir Molwyn Joseph pleaded the case for increased investment in
new and innovative programmes to manage the escalating spread of Non-
Communicable Diseases (NCDs).
Sir Molwyn was at the time addressing a high-level meeting on Universal Health
Coverage, which was held on the margins of the 78th session of the United Nations
General Assembly in New York. Sir Molwyn has been a strong and forceful
advocate for the spread of NCDs, a worrying health concern that has taken lives
and heaped a burdensome cost, resulting from the care of patients on the country’s
He addressed the issue against the backdrop of the severe challenges that small
states like Antigua and Barbuda experienced at the very height of the COVID-19
pandemic. The disease only served to expose and exacerbate the particular
vulnerabilities of those persons living with NCDs.
“Of course, we have other challenges in meeting our obligations and there are none
more critical than the financing of a modern healthcare system and the prevention
and reduction of the incidents of NCDs among our population,” Sir Molwyn told
“During COVID, it was clear that individuals suffering from NCDs were more
vulnerable to the virus and so we must improve and develop new programmes to
prevent the high incidents of NCDs,” he stressed.
The UN meeting, which was convened to review the progress and challenges of
achieving universal health coverage by 2030, was held under the theme “Universal
Health Coverage: expanding our Ambition for Health and Well-being in a post-
Noting that there is a need to have a global system that can meet the requirements
of all countries during a pandemic, the Minister told the high-level UN meeting
that he urged delegates to take all possible measures in preparing for any possible
pandemics in the future.
“This system must be scalable and flexible to meet the varied supplies,
medications, and analysis that will be required to effectively manage any future
global pandemics,” he stressed.
In this connection, the Minister was forceful in his suggestion that the region,
specifically Latin America and the Caribbean, should seek to build the capacity to
undertake the manufacturing of vaccines to ensure an adequate and effective
response to the health needs of our people.
He disclosed that Antigua and Barbuda had a target to eliminate cervical cancer by