Dr. Martin is also of the view that the maintenance of universal access to education and healthcare and protecting the ecosystem must hold prominence in the nation’s quest to meet the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs, as established by the United Nations.
The CMO made the disclosure in a recent paper on Public Health Perspectives.
He noted that part of the aim of the MDGs is to encourage development by improving social and economic conditions in the poorest countries of the world. Dr. Martin further argues that the agenda for developmental assistance must also be determined when these objectives are being set and pursued.
The Chief Medical Officer is of the view that when you examine certain areas of development for the federation, there has been what he referred to as remarkable overall achievement. Dr. Martin went on to state that with regards to the health services-related goals, Child Mortality is low, maternal mortality is negligible, and there is a barrier free access to HIV/AIDS treatment, care and support.
He stated that the progress is largely the outcome of strengthened governance, health systems and human resources development and prudent investment.
The CMO disclosed that the projected government expenditure on health services for 2010, from the federal administration and the Nevis Island Administration, is $50 million, which represents 3.3% of GDP, or $1,000 per capita, using a population figure of 52,000.
Reflecting on past health challenges, Dr. Martin explained that during the first half of the 20th Century, some 400 children died before their first birthday. Life expectancy then was below 50 years, compared to now when it is 73 years.
He attributes the poor health system in the 20th Century to serious illnesses caused by tuberculosis and other diseases such as the whooping cough, gastroenteritis which were then rampant. Dr. Martin reports that today the death rate due to infections is less than 5% of total mortality. He said that the high life expectancy and low mortality are indicators that St. Kitts & Nevis are achieving its goals in human development.