Grenada’s Minister of Health Nickolas Steele. (GP)
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ST GEORGE’S, Grenada – The Government of Grenada on Wednesday announced that it will be paying a firm based in the United States, between US$800 000 and US$1.5 million to complete the process for implementation of the National Health Insurance (NHI) programme.
Health Minister Nickolas Steele said that the contract with the Miami based Joint Independent Provider Association came into effect on October 29 and it builds on the work already started by the University of the West Indies and other stakeholders.
Grenada received US$653 916 from the United Nations Development Program to establish the secretariat of the NHI and to undertake initial preparatory work.
The decision of Government to introduce a National Health Insurance plan is in keeping with the Sustainable Development Goals 2030.
The JIPA Network – as the private healthcare company is called is headed by Grenadian-born and USA-trained neurologist, Dr Kester Need.
He promises that the NHI plan will overhaul the system and sustainably address issues of cost and delivery of healthcare in Grenada.
According to Steele, the contract with JIPA which did not go through a procurement process according to data on the government’s procurement website is a necessary step to overcoming many of the challenges that the healthcare system faces.
“If Grenadians can agree to JIPA’s team-based model, NHI will become a reality in the not too distant future, and as such, the challenges faced by a colonial system of care will finally be addressed, for present and future generations,” he said according to a news release.
The Objectives of the NHI are: To improve access to and affordability of health care services for all Grenadians; To improve the health care system which would lead to a healthier and more productive Grenada; To protect individuals and families from financial hardships that can result from health care expenses and to provide for a more equitable and sustainable method of financing health care.
JIPA’s original proposal to Government was of a five-year duration for implementation adopting three different phases with phase one and two covering 12 months period. However, Steele explains that the contract will be for a six to nine months’ duration with different components. “All of this will be made known and better explained at the launch on November 18th,” Steele said. (CMC)