Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Director Dr. Jarbas Barbosa has warned Small Island Developing States (SIDS) of the consequences of relying solely on imported essential health goods.
Barbosa said the reliance could leave the Islands highly vulnerable during health emergencies, like pandemics or natural disasters.
He advised that ensuring regional and domestic production reduces dependency on external suppliers, mitigating the risk of shortages.
According to the PAHO Director, producing local medicines and medical supplies can stimulate economic development, create jobs, and save costs.
He advised that it is a challenging task worth the investment, requiring significant financial commitments over long periods and establishing pharmaceutical and related industries.
However, Barbosa observed that identifying even the participation in a part of the chain of process is essential.
The PAHO Director spoke at the 45th Ministerial Meeting of the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) – Health.
The meeting ran from September 23-24 in Washington.
It endorsed strengthening the regional capacity to produce and regulate medicines, including vaccines and health technologies.