Title: Health in the Eastern Caribbean
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Title: Health in the Eastern Caribbean
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Language: English
Creator: Christian, Cora L. E.
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Christian, Cora Le Ethel, 1947- ( Contributor )
Publisher: Caribbean Studies Association
Publication Date: 1981
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Subject: Caribbean   ( lcsh )
Spatial Coverage: North America -- Caribbean
Caribbean
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Volume ID: VID00001
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HEALTH IN THE EASTERN CARIBBEAN


CORA L.E. CHRISTIAN












PAPER PREPARED FOR CARIBBEAN STUDIES ASSOCIATION
6TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE, ST. THOMAS, USVI
MAY 27-30, 1981









HEALTH IN THE EASTERN CAKIBBEAN


INTRODUCTION:


Recently, there has developed an increased interest in the health

system a country utilizes to deliver health care to its population. It

is a well accepted position that systems are important determinants in

the success of improving the health status of any population. In the

last two decades, England, Canada, Sweden, Russia, Cuba, and the U.S.A.

have undergone considerable change in the organization of their health

systems. In the Caribbean, many newly independent, quasi-independent

and dependent countries are considering following suite. In 1975, the

Caribbean Ministers of Health met in Antigua to discuss a plan of action

to correct the severe health problems affecting the Caribbean. Maternal

death rate ranged from 4-7/10,000 live births; infant mortality 15-70/1000

live births; infectious disease was the number one cause of death among

children; and, 50 percent of the children of the region were not immunized.

Representatives from fifteen (15) Caribbean countries were present.

They ,decided on four common goals, one of which was to strengthen the

present infrastructure of health delivery. Dr. Ken Standard, Professor

of Social and Preventive Medicine at the University of the West Indies,

noted that the final criterion of effectiveness of a health care system

is the extent to which the system improves health and reduces suffering

and disability./ In many epidemiological interventions the endpoint or

evaluation of success is based on mortality.2 Some authors have wisely


ISource Four Decades o6 Advances in Health in the Commonwealth
Caribbean, pg. 14

2Sou4ce Ga4y Cutter, et al; Mortality Surveillance in Co.taborative
Tliats, AJPH Vol. 70 #4, pg. 394, Aprit, 1980







used infant and child mortality as an indication of effectiveness. Unlike

the gross national product, which can rise significantly as a result of

a major improvement in the economic status of a country's elite, Halfdon

Mabler and his colleagues have stated that infant mortality rate can only

decline substantially as a result of improving the lot of the total popu-

lation. The purpose of this paper is twofold: 1) to compare and contrast

the differences in the health and socio-economic political systems in the

Eastern Caribbean countries; and 2) to determine what factors and/or

resources impact on the health status by improving health conditions,

that is, a decrease in the mortality rates.

The countries of Dominica, Antigua, St. Kitts (DASK) and the U.S.V.I.

were chosen for study. These countries represent the spectrum in terms

of socio-economic, geographic, political, human and technical resource,

and health system differences. The paper is structured as follows:

1) comparison of organizational structure of health systems;

2) comparison of the financing and regulating of health

delivery;

3) comparison of the socio-economic, political and health

structure for each country;

4) comparison of the birth and death rates as indicators of

improved health status;

5) a profile of expenditure and resources versus the indicators

of health status;

6) comparison of human and technical resources in health;

7) an analysis of the findings; and

8) conclusion


ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE OF HEALTH SYSTEM:


Without leadership no worthwhile goal could be achieved. In this






respect, the organizational leadership and structure of a health system

is important. By health system I mean the facilities, personnel, equip-

ment and financial resources which collectively make possible the delivery

of health care.

The Eastern'Caribbean countries of Dominica, Antigua and St. Kitts

(DASK) (see maps), have the same basic organizational structure. It is

derived from a British-type system. An elected member of the Legislature

out the paper) party gets the majority of seats. Therefore, he is the

top executive for health h as well as a law maker. His chief administrative

officer is the Permanent Secretary. He is responsible for the day to

day operations of the ministry. The Minister employs a chief technical

advisor to the Permanent Secretary who is a physician, the Chief Medical

Officer. This individual is, theoretically, the supervisor of all health

personnel. He is assisted by health professionals who supervise their

respective areas medicine, nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, and so on.

These professionals have subordinates who answer to them from their base -

be it hospital, the health clinics or health inspectors. The Chief

Medical Officer (CMO) is the top medical personnel in the ministry. His

authority in clinical matters is final. However, administratively, the

Permanent Secretary (PS) makes the decisions. From my observations, none

of the top officials have had formal administrative training, that is,

received degrees in health administration. All have experience and

some short-term courses in health administration.

The United States Virgin Islands' organizational structure differs

significantly from the other countries under study. The executive branch

is separate from the legislative. The Head of Health is called a

Commissioner. This person is not an elected official, but is appointed

by the Chief Executive of the country, the Governor. From the inception

of the government in the United States Virgin Islands (U.S.V.I.) a physi-

(4)






















Bermuda


GULF OF MEXICO


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Cayman Islands
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PACIFIC OCEAN


ATLANTIC OCEAN





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islands



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Virgin

Haiti Puerto islands
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Jamaica11114,ii?, r. nSt
aSt. Maarten
Dominican sBarbuda
Republic St. Kitts eAntigua
Nevis *Montserrat
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S Barbados
St. Vincent $

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> U.S. VIRGIN


NORTH-EAST

CARIBBEAN


:ANGU ILLA
cO ST MARTIN


ISLANDS


PUERTO RICO


o SABA
tST EUSTATIUS
ST KITTS
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DOMINICA


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cian has been the Commissioner of Health; this is not specified by law.

The Commissioner is assisted by Assistant and Deputy Commissioners.

Traditionally, the designation of Assistant was to individuals who were

physicians. The line of authority is from Commissioner to Assistants

to Deputies. The Deputies are, normally, non-physicians. Each of

these Assistants and Deputies is responsible for a section. Usually,

clinical divisions, such as hospitals, medical services, ambulatory

care, mental health and environmental health are assigned to Assistants.

The Deputies are responsible for Management areas, such as personnel,

payroll, financial affairs and property and procurement. Few of the

physicians employed in these administrative positions have had formal

administrative training. All of the non-physicians have had some formal

administrative training.

A matrix of organizational structure exists for all four countries.

Usually personnel have two lines of authority with which to be concerned:

(1) their section supervisor; and (2) their professional supervisor.

For example, a matron of the hospital in the first three countries, or

her equivalent in the USVI system, the Director of Nursing for the hospi-

tal, answers to the Medical Superintendent of the hospital (a physician)

in the first three countries or the Medical Director (a physician) in the

USVI. At the same time, this matron or nursing director relates pro-

fessionally to the Principal Nursing Officer in (DASK) or the Territorial

Chief Nurse in the USVI. These officers are not involved in the-day to

day operations of the hospital. Their role is to develop policy on

nursing matters and monitor all nursing activities. In all of the

countries we analyzed, personnel had difficulty with these relationships.

Antigua and the U.S.V.I. have opted to have a group of advisors to

the ministry (department).of health. In the case of Antigua, a Central

Board of Health advises the ministry on policy matters as well as on

(5)








the recruitment, selection and appointment of the medical staff. In the

U.S.V.I., the council advises on policy and makes recommendations on

priority areas. However, it is not involved in any of the day to day

functioning of the department.



FINANCING AND REGULATING THE HEALTH DELIVERY SYSTEM:


In the Commonwealth Caribbean countries of DASK the present system

of health care delivery is financed mainly by the government. Conse-

quently, a majoriLv of the people believe the services are maintained

free. Both rich and poor seek free care.

The legal standards for the registration and operation of hospitals

and long term care facilities are elementary. There are no provisions

for accreditation. Licensing boards for medical specialists are non-

existent. Doctors, pharmacists, nurses and other health professionals'

licenses vary from country to country. The distribution of these health

professionals leaves much to be desired.

When payments for health care services are received in these

countries, they fall under the following methods:

1) salaried basis; 2) fee for service; 3) capitation; and 4) out of

pocket.

In all of the above methods, the total output is not geared to ensure

maximum consumption of the service relative to other goods and services

on which the consumer can spend. In addition, it is difficult to deter-

mine any degree of efficiency. The private sector, via the medical socie-

ties, does not exercise disciplinary controls over physicians.. There

are no mechanisms to assess quality of care yet the populace is demanding

more medical services and more advanced technology.3


Health Ca.re Financing in the Commonweatth CaAibbean; Repoat o6 the
Special Subcommittee o6 the Inte.nationat Federation o6 Voiuntary
Health SeAvice Funds on Health Cate in the Commonwealth CaLibbean
(No Date)









The U.S.V.I. system does not differ in its structure of financing

care. The government provides 80% of all services. All hospitals are

government controlled, but, unlike the other Eastern Caribbean countries,

they have been subject to accreditation by the Joint Commission on

Accreditation of Hospitals, a National U. S. Organization. In 1979,

the hospitals lost their accreditation due, mainly, to poor and antequated

physical structure. All medical specialists are subject to the national,

that is, U. S., licensing requirements of their specific specialty. All

doctors, pharmacists and nurses are licensed through their respective

local boards. However, other health professionals, such as psychologists,

do not have a body to license them for practice outside government faci-

lities.

Payment for services mirrors the methods outlined for the other

Caribbean countries. Similar events occur in the case of the consumption

of services and the lack of disciplinary controls of health professionals.

However, assurance of the quality of care is assessed through the Pro-

fessional Standard Review Organization (PSRO). The PSRO is mandated by

the laws of the U. S. and is therefore applicable to the U.S.V.I. The

Virgin Islands Medical Institute (VIMI) is the PSRO for the Virgin Islands.

VIMI is comprised o' 63% of the licensed doctors of medicine in the

U.S.V.I. who:

1) make sure the necessity of hospital admission, appro-

priateness of hospital stay and effectiveness of discharge

planning are assessed through criteria, standards and

norms;

2) identify deficiencies in the quality, organization,

administration and delivery of care and make recommendations

to correct these deficiencies through education and

administrative change; and









3) conduct profile analysis where profiles of provider and

recipient are established, analyzed and evaluated to

identify if the care is necessary, meets professional

standards or is in the most appropriate setting.

This body is attempting to regulate and monitor the services as well as

gather accurate data on the health care services in the U.S.V.I.



A DESCRIPTION OF SOCIO-ECONOMIC, POLITICAL ASPECTS OF THE

HEALTH SYSTEMS:


DOMINICA

The Commonwealth of Dominica has an area of 290 Sq. miles. It is

located between Guadeloupe and Martinique (see map). The topography

is easily describable as mountainous. It is the largest of the Windward

Islands. It was named for the Sunday on which it was discovered by

Columbus. It is an agri-economy with 40% of the total land utilized

for agriculture. Peculiar foods are fine flesh of the crapaud or mountain

chicken (frogs), fresh water crayfish and "tee-tee-ree", fried cakes

made from tiny fish. The government owns 60% of the land.

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 1970 was $33.9 million East

Caribbean dollars. In 1975 it was $55.2 million. In 1978 Dominica

became independent. In 1980 the people of Dominica elected, overwhelmingly,

the first female Prime Minister in the Caribbean, Ms. Eugenia Charles,

a conservative and leader of the Dominica Freedom Party.

In 1970 the census population was 59,900. By 1975 the population

was estimated at 79,900. Because of its mountainous geography, the

population is clustered on the sea coast. Roseau, the capital, is in

the Southwest. Roseau is the chief port and center of government, commerce

and trade with 25% of the population occupying its boundaries. Portsmouth

on the Northwest, next in density, has 3,000 people. Forty-two percent








of the population are under 15 years of age. The health delivery system

is basically comprised of hospital, clinics and environmental health

surveillance. Forty-four health clinics staffed by nurse midwives are

supervised by 11 public health nurses. Four medical officers visit the

clinics periodically. These clinics provide general outpatient care,

maternal and child health and health education. Thirty-six percent of

the clinics are government owned facilities. Rented houses, generally

lacking the proper structural components to support a health function,

comprise the remaining sixty-four percent. There are three regional

hospitals in the towns of Portsmouth, Marigot and Grand Bay providing

for deliveries, emergency care and general ambulatory care. Two of

the hospitals have no resident medical officer. These hospitals are

managed by nurses. The 240-bed State Hospital is in Roseau. In August

1979, hurricanes David and Frederick extensively damaged the State

Hospital. Presently, the hospital is under reconstruction with the aim

of redesigning and organizing it to bring it in compliance with the

hospital standards of developed nations.

There are 12 Public Health Inspectors who are responsible for

sanitation, communicable disease and vector control. Much of the equip-

ment needed to perform their function is lacking.4



ANTIGUA:


Antigua's land area is 108 sq. miles. It is bordered by 365 white

sandy beaches and is mostly flat. It has a large tourist industry. It

is served by an international airport. The GDP in 1970 was EC$40.7 million.


4MeAvyn U. HenAy, Project for Health SeAvices ReconstAuction, Rehabili-
tation and Development, Aug. 14, 1980








In 1975 it was EC$128.9 million. Antigua is an associated State of

Britain. Antigua will be independent in June, 1981. In 1980, Mr. Vere

C. Bird, Sr., dubbed the father of the Antigua nation, was re-elected

to lead his country under the banner of the Antigua Labor Party. Bird

has been the effective head of Antigua for well over 25 years.

In 1970 population was 55,600 and 70,500 in 1975. One-third of

the population lives in the capital, St. John's. Two-thirds of the

population lives within a five mile radius of St. John's. Thirty-eight

percent of the to*al population is under 15 years of age.

The health delivery system is comprised of curative (hospitals and

clinics) and preventive service (communicable disease control and

environmental control). Vector control of mosquito capable of trans-

mitting both dengue and yellow fever have been a high priority. Antigua

has five health institutions. Three of which are hospitals comprised

of a total of 35 beds and two homes with a total of 180 beds. Only

the Holberton Hospital in St. John's can be considered acute care. It

has the only medical laboratory in Antigua. The present size of the

hospital will suffice to serve the Antiguan population for at least the

next ten years. The average length of stay exceeds 14 days and occupancy

rate is 77%. The post of medical superintendent of the hospital was

abolished in 1973 but reactivated in 1979. This individual is presently

a surgeon; he also acts as a Medical Advisor to the Minister of Health.

The ambulatory care services are provided through five health centers

and 16 clinics. Under the Medical and Holberton Institution Ordinance

of 1899, District Medical Officers (DMO's) are appointed to provide free

treatment to those eligible at facilities convenient to their home.

The centers do not differ from clinics except that centers have two

Public Health Nurses working together. The DMO's are required to visit

these facilities once a week. The DMO's generally spend two hours a


(10)








session seeing 50 to 60 patients. No prescriptions can be filled except

at the Health Center in St. John's. There are 12 Public Health Nurses

who supervise 28 nurse midwives and 22 community aides. Therefore, there

are 70 nursing staff to cover 21 health centers or clinics. It is important

to note that outside of the St. John's Health Center, no family planning,

post-natal clinics or penicillin injections are given. Antenatal clinics

are held regularly at the Health Centers. Although the original reason

to employ 28 nurse midwives was due to undertake deliveries in the

community, 90% of all births are at Holberton Hospital or the private

Adelin Clinic.

The estimated ratio of clinic to population was one clinic for 2,700

persons. This is as great a coverage as the best served areas of the

world. However, these clinics have no diagnostic facilities or even

the simplest range of drugs. Basically, screening is the only service

provided. Many of the clinics are in dilapidated buildings.

At present, environmental sanitation services are not within the

jurisdiction of the Ministry of Health. Environmental Health is in the

portfolio of the Ministry of Barbuda Affairs, Labour, Housing and Sanita-

tion. The Health Inspector staff of nineteen, including a Chief and

Deputy, answers to the Central Board of Health which is chaired by the

CMO. However, his funding comes from the Ministry of Barbuda Affairs and

not Health. Twelve health inspectors have had no formal training and

five of the senior inspectors have had one;year at the training school

in Jamaica. Their duties are wide and varied. They control nuisance

animals, inspect privees, drains, public baths, bakeries, hotels,

restaurants, markets, barber shops, factories, workshops and common

lodging houses; dispose of the dead and take care of cemeteries and

grave yards; control the spread of vectors and infectious disease as

well as assume responsibility for school hygiene, venereal disease,

(11)







milk, ice-cieam and aerated water. They function under the Public

Health Ordinance of 1957. It is readily evident that they are short

staffed and in need of additional formal training. The report of a

special subcommittee of the international federation of voluntary health

service funds on health care in the Commonwealth Caribbean recommended

that appropriate staff of CAREC advise the inspectors on immediate

measures to deal with the vector problem and the growing epidemic of

gastro-enteritis in 1980.



ST. KITTS/NEVIS:


St. Kitts is a plantation society. It is 68 sq. miles. Nevis

is 36 sq. miles, it is the sister island of St. Kitts. All further

reference and statistics to St. Kitts will include Nevis. Its main

industry is agriculture and its main crop is sugar. Sugar, which comprises

over 75% of the exports of the country, contributes over 50% of the gross

domestic product.

St. Kitts is dubbed the "Mother Colony" of the West Indies. This

label is being used to its advantage as it develops its small scale

tourism. A new jet airport and terminal were recently completed. These

promise to assist in enabling more people to discover the island.

Added to sugar, which is now organized through a state run organi-

zation called the National Agricultural Corporation (NACO), St. Kitts

is also engaged in light manufacturing such as clothing production and

electronics assembling. These new initiatives could have an impact on

the population and the attendant health system of the island.

The GDP in 1970 was E$40.7 million. St. Kitts/Nevis is a state

linked to Britain. After nearly 30 years in power and subsequent to

the death of the founder/leader of the St. Kitts/Nevis Labour Party,


(12)








the late Premier Robert Bradshaw, the Labour Party lost to a coalition

of the People's Action Movement and the Nevis Reformation Party in the

general election on February 18, 1980. The new premier is Dr. Kennedy

Simmonds, an anesthesiologist. Although the former government was in

the planning stage for independence, the new government does not consider

independence a high priority item.

In 1970, the population of St. Kitts/Nevis was 45,600. In 1975

it was 48,300. Basseterre, the capital of St. Kitts is the chief port

and center of government. The largest of the three hospitals, the

Joseph N. France with 164 beds, is located in Basseterre. Sandy Point,

the second largest town, is located in the Northwest of the island.

Pogson Hospital, a 28-bed cottage hospital, is located in Sandy Point.

The 54 bed Alexandra Hospital is located in Charlestown, the capital of

Nevis. Only the Joseph N. France Hospital is equipped for delivering

all major special services.5 From my observations, the Joseph N. France

Hospital in St. Kitts is the best equipped hospital when compared with

Antigua's and Dominica's hospitals.

There are an average of five DMO's, three in St. Kitts and two

in Nevis. St. Kitts is divided into four Medical Districts and Nevis

two. The DMO's numbers vary from year to year based on the availability

of physicians.

St. Kitts has 11 health centers serviced by the three DMO's, nine

health sisters, 18 district nurses and a supervisor. .Nevis has six health

centers serviced by two DMO's, five health sisters, six district nurses

and one nurse aide.6 One of the St. Kitts DMO's has the additional

responsibilities of medical superintendent of Pogson Hospital and


5J.0. Vincent Oaganizationat Anatysisa o the Health System in
St. Kitts/Nevis, June 2-13, 1980.

6We must note he.e that the health centers in St. Kitts go back to
the 1960's when their. pione.e development was ushered in by Dr.
Phitip Boyd, pe.sent Chie. of the CARICOM Health Desk. (13)








Pediatrician at the Joseph N. France Hospital. In addition, he has a

private practice as do all physicians in the State. In general, the

health centers throughout St. Kitts are in poor physical condition.

Of the 17 Public Health Inspectors, only nine are trained. Nevis

has four sanitary districts with one inspector per district. St. Kitts

has eight districts with 12 inspectors and a chief inspector.



THE UNITED STATES VIRGIN ISLANDS:


The United S'ates Virgin Islands is comprised of three principal

islands of St. Croix, 84 sq. miles and 50 miles south of St. Thomas.

St. Thomas, 28 sq. miles, St. John, 20 sq. miles and 60 small cays and

inlets. The U.S.V.I. is the Eastern most part of the United States. It

is located in some of the deepest ocean water over 1,000 miles south of

the mainland U.S.A. The United States purchased the Virgin Islands for

a protectorate from Denmark in 1917 for $25 million. Administratively,

the Navy controlled the territory until the U. S. Interior Department

assumed responsibility in 1931.

The U.S.V.I. consists principally of steep mountainous areas with

the only large body of flat land on St. Croix. Its industries are

mainly tourism on St. Thomas and St. John and heavy industry such as

oil refining and aluminum production on St. Croix.

The per capital income in 1970 was $2,377, one of the highest

among Caribbean Islands. In 1977 it was $4,743. Since 1954 with the

passage of the revised Organic Act, the U.S.V.I. has had increasing

self-rule. However, it still is governed by the laws of U.S.A. and is

therefore politically dependent ( a colony of the U.S.A.). Its Chief

Executive Officer is the Governor who is elected by the people. The

present governor, Juan Luis, is the youngest governor to be elected

at the age of 38. He is of Spanish decent.


(14)








In the past decade, the population has doubled with a decreasing

proportion being native born Virgin Islanders. In 1960 of the 32,500

population 83% were native born while in 1978 of the 118,900, 43% were

native born. The capital of the Virgin Islands is Charlotte Amalie

on the island of St. Thomas. Charlotte Amalie is the chief port, center

of government and commerce of the U.S.V.I. Twenty-eight percent of

the population is less than 17 years of age.7

The Department of Health is made up of 11 divisions responsible

for outpatient, emergency, curative and preventative care. The two

hospitals in the Virgin Islands (one in St. Thomas and one in St. Croix)

with an annex (in the third main town of Frederiksted) have a total of

253 beds. In 1978 the average length of stay was 7 days and the occupancy

rates was over 104%. The hospitals which are now 25 years old do not

meet the current needs of the population. Upon completion of the hospitals

in 1953, they were already inadequate to deal with the relatively

small population on the island. These construction estimates were

based on the 1940 census. Several additions and renovations to the

facilities were insufficient in bringing the hospitals up to standard.

In 1978 the Joint Commission on Accreditations of Hospitals found each

hospital with at least 36 structural and life safety deficiencies. The

cost of correcting the deficiencies to bring the hospitals up to a

marginal acceptance was $US18 million. Under the leadership of the

Commissioner of Health, funds were obtained from the federal government

and two new 250-bed hospitals, one for St. Thomas and one for St. Croix,

will be completed at the end of 1981 at the cost of $US24 million each.

The U.S.V.I. ambulatory health facilities date back to 1910

abandoned World War II military barracks and converted hotels and houses.


7
U.S.V.I. Health Plan, 1979
(15)








Many of the facilities are beyond repair. Unlike the other countries

under discussion in this paper, the U.S.V.I. ambulatory services are

divided mainly by programs rather than districts. The Community Health

program provides preventative, diagnostic, screening and treatment services

in many buildings throughout the territory. Similarly, the Maternal and

Child Health programs, family planning, mental health and specialty

clinics utilize the same buildings. Within the past five years the

ambulatory services have been restructured in districts with identifiable

health centers. In St. Thomas the second largest settlement has its

health center in a renovated hotel. This center at the Eastern End of

the island is situated on a hill and is rather inaccessible by foot.

The other health center is located in Frederiksted, the second largest

town in St. Croix. Presently, this center is under construction. Services

are provided in rooms made available in the hospital annex. The present

health plan calls for the establishment of eight health districts,

three on St. Thomas, three on St. Croix and two on St. John. Monies

have been partially identified to accomplish this objective. All land

sites have been purchased. Architectual plans have been put out on

bid for one of the St. John centers with the second already in existence.

In 1981 all ambulatory services on the three islands have been placed

under the direction of an Assistant Commissioner.

Environmental Health is the responsibility of two departments

of the government, Health and Conservation and Cultural Affairs. .The :

Department of Conservation and Cultural Affairs is responsible for r

air and water pollution and waste disposal. The Department of Health

is concerned with vector control, inspection of eating and drinking

establishments and food protection.

There are nine public health inspectors. All of the inspectors

have received short term courses in their respective areas. None have

had any formal training.
(16)









PRESENTATION OF TABLES AND GRAPHS:


The four countries were compared for the years 1971-75 for the

following:

1) birth race (Table I, Graph I)

2) death rate (Table II, Graph II)

3) population (Table III)

4) Beds per thousand population (Bp) vs. Infant Mortality

Rate (Table IV, Graph III)

5) Government Expenditure on Health and East Caribbean

Dollars and U. S. Dollars vs. Infant Mortality Rate

(Table V, Graph IV)

6) Government Expenditure on Health as Percent of Total

Government Expenditure vs. Infant Mortality Rate

(Table VI, Graph V)

7) Composite of the four countries in reference to government

expenditure on health, health expenditure vs. total

expenditures and infant mortality rate (Graph VI)

8) Population per nurse vs. Infant Mortality Rate (Table VII,

Graph VII)

9) Population per medical doctor vs. Infant Mortality Rate

(Table VIII, Graph VIII).


(17)









TABLE I

BIRTH RATE


DOMINICA


Rate


IANTIGUA


Rate


ST. KITTS


Rate


I USVI


Rate


1971 37.3 25.4 23.5 36.4

1972 35.5 23.1 25.8 33.4

1973 30.8 18.2 24.9 28.2

1974 27.1 18.3 24.1 27.3

1975 22.3 18.9 22.9 27.7



Birth Rate Number of Births
Birth Rate =
Population





TABLE II

DEATH RATE

DOMINICA ANTIGUA ST. KITTS USVI

Year Rate Rate Rate Rate

1971 9.3 6.2 9.3 6.7

1972 7.4 6.7 11.3 6.3

1973 6.8 5.5 11.0 5.2

1974 6.7 7.1 10.8 5.1

1975 6.0 6.7 8.9 5.5



Death Rate Number of deaths
Death Rate =
population



SOURCE: DOMINICA ECCM Annual Digest od Statistics, 1975
ANTIGUA ECCM Annual Digest of Statistics, 1975
.ST. KITTS ECCM Annual Digest o6 Statistics, 1975 9 Statistical
Report Health Depaatment o6 St. Kitts, 1977
USVI Annual Repo4ts of the Dept. o6 Health, 6i4cal years
1971-75
(18)


Year


t- II














DOMINICA


POPULATION

71,700

72,900

74,703

76,188

79,915


TABLE III

POPULATION

ANTIGUA


POPULATION


ST. KITTS


POPULATION


-44 1+


66,860

68,010

68,960

69,750

70,520


47,200

48,000

47,700

47,400

48,300


USVI


POPULATION


79,831

84,654

89,620

94,729

92,430


I 11 11 I



TABLE IV

BED PER THOUSAND POPULATION VS. INFANT MORTALITY RATE


DOMINICA ANTIGUA ST. KITTS USVI

Year Bp IMR Bp IMR Bp IMR Bp IMR

1971 3.8 51.6 5.7 19.4 5.0 65.0 3.7 26.8

1972 3.8 36.8 5.7 19.1 4.9 69.6 3.5 23.3

1973 3.7 38.7 5.6 11.9 5.1 51.4 3.3 22.5

1974 3.6 28.1 5.5 31.4 5.1 56.9 3.1 18.6

1975 3.5 26.9 5.4 36.7 5.0 42.8 3.2 23.8



Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) =Number of infant deaths
Number of live births



SOURCE: DOMINICA ECCM Annual Digest of Statistics, 1975
ANTIGUA ECCM Annual Digest o6 Statistics, 1975
ST. KITTS ECCM Annual Digest o Statistics, 1975
Statistical Report Health Depattment of St. Kitts
1977
USVI Annual Repoats o6 the Department o6 Health, fiscal
yea.s 1971-75


(19)


Year

1971

1972

1973

1974

1975


'' Y


I I


rr II









TABLE V

GOVERNMENT EXPENDITURE ON HEALTH ($000) $2.7EC $1 US VS. INFANT MORTALITY=TE


DOMINICA ANTIGUA ST. KITTS USVI

Year EC US IMR EC US IMR EC UF IMR US IMR

1971 2105 780 51.6 3150 1167 19.4 2011 745 65.0 19,490 26.8

1972 2286 847 36.8 3287 1217 19.1 1830 678 69.6 23,718 23.3

1973 2593 960 38.7 3820 1415 11.9 2110 781 51.4 25,182 22.5

1974 4142 1534 28.1 4916 1821 31.4 2435 902 56.9 23,400 18.6

1975 3111 1152 26.9 4474 1657 36.7 2659 985 42.8 19,146 23.8



SOURCE: DOMINICA ECCM Annual Digest o6 Statistics, 1975
ANTIGUA ECCM Annual Digest o6 Statistics, 1975
ST. KITTS ECCM Annual Digest of Statistics, 1975 and Statistical
Repott Health Depa.tment o6 St. Kitts 1977
USVI Annual Repotts o6 the Depa4tment of Health, fiscal years 1971-75











TABLE VI


HEALTH EXPENDITURE AS


% OF TOTAL EXPENDITURE VS. INFANT MORTALITY RATE


DOMINICA


IMR


ANTIGUA


S". KITTS


DO I C. II II


IMR


IMR


USVI


IMR


1971 9.8 51.6 1.7 19.4 14.8 6.5 15.4 26.8

1972 17.3 36.8 1.4 19.1 13.5 69.6 17.4 23.3

1973 12.8 38.7 13.4 11.9 7.5 51.4 16.4 22.5

1974 14.3 28.1 14.4 31.4 9.7 56.9 16.0 18.6

1975 13 26.9 11.5 36.7 7.2 42.8 15.9 23.8


Number of infant deaths
Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) =Number of infant deaths
Number of live births




SOURCE: DOMINICA ECCM Annual Digest o6 Statistics, 1975
ANTIGUA ECCM Annual Digest o6 Statistics, 1975
ST. KITTS ECCM Annual Digest o6 Statistics, 1975 and Statistical
Repott Health Depattment o6 St. Kitts 1977
USVI Annual Repotts o6 the Depattment o6 Health, fiscal ye.aa 1971-75


Year


HEALTH EXPENDITURE AS








TABLE VII


POPULATION PER


NURSE VS. INFANT MORTALITY RATE


DOMINICA


PPN

565

583

739

680

619


IMR


51.6

36.8

38.7

28.1

26.9


ANTIGUA


ST. KITTS


+4 44 1


PPN


IMR


IL U- I


649

641

644

447

339


19.4

19.1

11.9

31.4

36.7


PPN


313

314

318

301

295


IMR


65.0

69.6

51.4

56.9

42.8


USVI


PPN


181

140

170

177

172


IMR


26.8

23.3

22.5

18.6

23.8


Population per nurse =
Average number of nurses =


POPULATION PER MEDICAL


Population
number of nurses


TABLE VIII

DOCTOR VS. INFANT MORTALITY RATE


DOMINICA


PMD


IMR


ANTIGUA


ST. KITTS


*4 *4 1


PMD


IMR


PMD


IMR


USVI


PMD


IMR


1971 5515 51.6 3343 19.4 3371 65 1023* 26.8

1972 4556 36.8 3400 19.1 2667 69.6 962* 23.3

1973 5336 38.7 3283 11.9 2650 51.4 1211 22.5

1974 5079 28.1 3487 31.4 2633 56.9 1169 18.6

1975 7992 26.9 3205 36.7 2667 42.8 840 23.8


Population per medical doctor = Average number of doctors = Population
Number of doctors

SOURCE: DOMINICA ECCM Annual Digest of Statistics, 1975
ANTIGUA ECCM Annual Digest of Statistics, 1975
ST. KITTS ECCM Annual Digest o6 Statistics, 1975 and
Statistical Report Health Pepaitment o6 St. Kitts
1977
USVI --Ve4bat RepoAt f&om Sec/etaLy o6 Boaid o Nur6ing
February, 1981
Ve4bal Report from Secretaty, Bureau o_ MaipAactlice
FebAuaUy 1981 (22)
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The birth rates for all four countries have decreased since 1971.

In Dominica, Antigua and St. Kitts/Nevis, the rate decreased by 40.21%,

25.59%, .03%, respectively. For the U.S.V.I. the decline was 23.90%.

Death rates fell for Dominica, St. Kitts and the U.S.V.I. and increased

slightly in Antigua. For the countries of decrease, the percentages

were 35.48%, .04%, 17.91%. Antigua's increase was .08%.

Population increased in all countries. The increase was 11.46% for

Dominica; 5.47% for Antigua; 2.33% for St. Kitts and 15.78% for U.S.V.I.

Bed per thousand population declined in Dominica by 7.89%, 5.26%

in Antigua, and 13.51% in the U.S.V.I. The ratio was constant for St.

Kitts.

Infant Mortality Rates declined in Dominica by 47.87%; 34.15% in

St. Kitts and 11.19% in the U.S.V.I. In Antigua the rate increased by

an unbelievable 89.18%.

Government expenditures on health increased in all countries except

the U.S.V.I. The increases were, in US dollars, 47.69% for Dominica,

41.99% for Antigua, 32.21% for St. Kitts. In the U.S.V.I., government

expenditures on health decreased by 1.77%.

Health expenditures as a percentage of total expenditures increased

in all countries except St. Kitts. The increases were 32.65% for Dominica;

a fantastic 576.42% in Antigua; and 3.25% in the U.S.V.I. In St. Kitts

the decline was a remarkable 51.35%.

In terms of medical manpower, the population per nurse increased

in only one country, Dominica. There the ratio increased by 9.56%.

Decreases were registered in Antigua by 47.77%; 5.75% for St. Kitts and

4.97% in the U.S.V.I. The population per medical doctors increased

in Dominica and decreased in all other countries. For Dominica, the

increase was 44.99%. Decreases were 4.13% in Antigua; 20.88% in St. Kitts,

and 17.89% in the U.S.V.I.


(31)








ANALYSIS OF FINDINGS:


Where small numbers of vital events are concerned, regardless of

the quality of reporting, vital statistics data may have limitations

for analytical use. Because small frequencies are affected by random

variation, caution should be exercised in their use and interpretation,

whether they are statistics for small demographic groups or for small

geographic areas. This author, cognizant of the above, feels however,

that the data have shown some important facts:

1) Graph I clearly demonstrates that with proportionately

increasing health expenditures the birth rate decreased.

As the expenditures levelled off or decreased birth rate

levelled off or increased;

2) Similar findings were found for health expenditures

versus death rate as with the birth rate as shown

in Graph II;

3) The relationship between beds per 1,000 population and

infant mortality rate is not clear as presented in Graph III.

For the most part in all countries the beds trend remained

slightly constant while the infant mortality rate increased,

decreased or vaccilated;

4) Graph IV clearly shows that as health expenditures increased

proportionately, infant mortality rate decreased. As health

expenditure started to decrease infant mortality rate increased

and if health expenditures were constant, infant mortality

rate remained constant;

5) Similar findings were found for health expenditures as a

percent of total expenditures as shown in Graph V;

6) Graph VI shows that Dominica which proportionately spent

more and a larger proportion of its total budget on health

(32)







had the best rate of decrease in infant mortality. Antigua's

situation is peculiar for between 1973 and 1974 there was

a sudden rise in infant mortality. Perhaps there was a

special health problem such as an epidemic affecting infants;

7) However; Graph VII may be shed some light on this peculiarity.

The average number of nurses for the population was constant

until 1973, then it suddenly dropped between 1973 and 1974

with a less proportional drop between 1974 and 1975. This

means there were more nurses to take care of fewer individuals.

For Dominica and St. Kitts with a drop in the average number

of nurses the IMR continued to decrease. In the USVI, there

were fewer nurses in 1973 to 1975 than in 1972, yet the

decrease in IMR was in 1974; and

8) As the average number of doctors for the population increased

significantly, the IMR decreased.



CONCLUSION:


In a world growing more interdependent, day by day, we increasingly

share each others distresses and dangers as well as the fruits of

mankind's success. In a region that encompasses microstates which

reflect the coming together of all the worlds peoples in a small space,

it is important that we review our progress and that our colleagues in

the region are aware of the findings that support the advancement of

well-being of our peoples.

It is very clear that Dominica has had the most significant impact

on its health status over the five year period. It is clear also that

this impact is not related to the nominal dollar amount but the increasing

expenditure on health. All countries demonstrate this phenomenon. The

USVI spent nineteen times as much money on health as Dominica and ended
(33)







with very little significant decrease in rate and very little difference

in actual IMR. However, it is important to note that the USVI mortality

rates for the five year period were the lowest. This indicates an overall

good health status.. Also, of interest, is that the USVI expenditure

in 1975 reverted to its expenditures in 1971 resulting in increasing

IMR back to 1971 levels. It is not clear what is happening in Antigua.

We know for certain the reporting of vital statistics has always been

a priority in Antigua. Birth and death registration has been a statutory

requirement since the nineteenth century. This registration is cross

checked by the statistician in the Chief Medical Officer's department

and is considered'accurate. Therefore, this cannot account for the sharp

change in 1973-74. Neither the population, number of beds nor average

number of persons per doctor changed. However, the expenditures and

average number of nurses were significantly decreased, the latter, at

a more striking rate. It may be safe to say that in Antigua's case,

the manpower resource, paradoxically, has been a determining factor to

the detriment of the health system. In the Dominican case, the fiscal

resource has been a determining factor to the benefit while in the USVI

and Kittitian experience the decrease proportionally in fiscal resources

has adversely affected health status. This finding supports Davidson R.

Gwatkin, a demographer with the Overseas Development Council (ODC)..

In the San Juan Star (February 8, 1981, p.16) he noted, to the surprise

of his colleagues, that the progress in reducing:mortality in the-:'

world's poorer countries over the last generation, which had been remark-

able, is now faltering in the 1970's and 1980's. He theorized that one

factor underlying this faltering mortality picture is that the progress

in social and economic development has slowed in many places. His findings



L. Bertrand and BEC Hopwod, PAe-pZanning Review of the Health Status
and the Effectiveness o6 the Health Se-Lvicez in Antigua, July 1980.

(34)







were based on analysis of mortality data for Asia and one Caribbean

country, Jamaica. Our findings support his theory for these four East

Caribbean countries as well.

How does the structure and organization of the health delivery

system affect t'le health status? From my perspective in researching

this paper, no clear association can be readily seen between structure

and health status. -This observation may be impor 9t.. The countries

of:DASK. rganizational:structure andsystems of delivery-were ver,

similar yet significant differences were found in their ability to lower

the mortality rates. The U.S.V.I.'s structure was significantly

different and yet no real gains were noted either ir the actual mortality

rates or in the trend of decreasing the rates. Significant amount of

time and energy is spent by nations in organizing their health system.

What may be more important may be how expenditures are allocated over

a period with a commitment to steadily increase fiscal capability as

theorized earlier by David Gwatkin.


9
Gwatkin and his cotteagues went on to evaluate the impact of specific
interventions on infant and child mortality in 10 projects as tepotted
in "Can Health and Nutrition Intetventions make a di6eftence," Monograph
13 o4 the Overteas Development Counc-i, Februaiy 1980. The projects wete
in Many Fatms USA, two in Guatemala, Imesi Nigetia, NottheAn Petu,
Etimesgut TuAkey, NaHangwat India, Jamkhed India, Hanover Jamaica
and Katrat Iran. In 8 of the 10 projects immunization was the common
factot that was present as the intervention used in the medical system.
Nutrition was the other. common actor, usually as di-ect food supplements
to the population and/ot intensive nutrition counse.ting. It may be critical
to analyze how the expenditures o6 these counttlie wete allocated. Such
considerations argue. trtongly fot continued evaluation and incorporation
o6 these findings into the. eseatch e.ofott. The authors caution the readeas:
The substantive suggestions a/e straight 6otwatd, consisting o6 a summaty
o6 points made ealtiet. The contribution of nutrition to physical growth
and mortality reduction in the p-ojects reviewed, foL eXample, atgues Attong9
o0t incoapotating nutritional considerations into ptogtam designs. Also,
the ttans6er. o6 health Asevices ftom the hospital into the community
emerges as a promising shift. Mo-e speci6icatty, matetnat nuatition and
immunization, nutrition monitoring, and expanded rtotes do health personnel
seem to have worked well in many di66etent settings. Yet, as noted, the
composition o0 successaju service packages has varied widely, suggesting
that no single approach is best suited to atl situations throughout the
developing wotld. This indicates a need dot considerable flexibility,


(Continued on page 36)


(35)







This paper did not address the socio-cultural obstacles and/or

variables that affect health services delivery. Perhaps-these factors

contribute to our findings. Yet it is clear from these data that

increasing expenditures impact on health status positively; that

increasing manpower resources' did not have a positive impact on health

status and that the organization and structure of the health care system

did not play an important role in the four countries discussed. We

need, however; to be cautious in our findings. Clearly a longer period

of time will be more important in terms of giving us definitive answers.

As the former Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, Joe Califano,

said before the World Health Assembly in 1977, "These world health

problems are so immense that they may be beyond the capacity of individual

nations to solve. But we have seen how much can be accomplished when

the nations of the world combine their resources, their knowledge, and,

above all, their will." We as Caribbean people must combine our resources,

knowledge and will to find the true determinants that affect the quality

and status of health in our region.













a wiltingness to consider sympathetically a wide tange of oAganizational
and technological approaches developed on the basis o6 a ullt appreciation
o6 local conditions. It is not enough otr a proposed approach to be
consistent with cut.ent inteAnational community thinking about what
represents e66ectiveness; it is even mote important that project implementori
also demonstrate peAsuasively the congtuence. o theit approaches with
local realities, both technical and human.




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